It wasn’t an upset, but for the GW men’s basketball team, a conference road win is as big as they get. The Colonials picked up just their third win away from home this season by beating Fordham 77-66 Wednesday night in Bronx, N.Y.
GW (14-8, 8-3 Atlantic 10) moved to within one and a half games of first-place Dayton (19-4, 9-1 A-10), which lost at undefeated St. Joseph’s Wednesday night. The Colonials will now have a week off to prepare for their game against the Flyers at home next Wednesday.
“We’re 14-8, 8-3 in conference, and that’s what’s great about tonight,” GW head coach Karl Hobbs said over the phone Wednesday night. “I thought we had the right attitude and intensity going into the game, and when we went up early, we got a little lax. But we turned it up in the second half and didn’t let them get comfortable.”
After pulling away from the Rams (4-16, 1-8 A-10) early, the Colonials saw their lead cut to four, 33-29, by halftime.
“In the first half, we went up 10 or 12 and started to relax like the game was over a bit,” Hobbs said. “They made some three-point shots and we had some turnovers.”
But the second half was a different story, as the Colonials came out with a 15-3 run in the first four minutes and never relinquished the lead, pulling ahead by more than 20 at one point.
Junior T.J. Thompson carried the load offensively for GW with 24 points, while sophomore Mike Hall recorded a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomores Omar Williams and Pops Mensah-Bonsu had 13 and 10 points, respectively, as GW’s bench outscored Fordham’s reserves 23-2.
Turnovers were a problem for GW, which had 24, but the Rams outdid the Colonials with 28 turnovers of their own. The Colonials used Fordham’s mistakes to spark their fast-break offense, scoring 34 points off turnovers.
The loss capped off a rough week for the Rams, both on and off the court. After Fordham’s loss to Xavier on Saturday, the Musketeers alleged that a Fordham team manager was using a walkie-talkie to relay Xavier’s plays to the Rams’ bench during the game.
Head Coach Dereck Whittenburg denied the allegation to the Associated Press earlier in the week, but on Tuesday, Fordham suspended the manager for two games “due to an act of unsportsmanlike conduct,” according to a university statement. On the court, GW handed the Rams their seventh straight loss.
Hobbs, who will now make a recruiting detour in New York, said the Colonials will rest and look ahead to Wednesday’s game against the Flyers, which starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Smith Center.
“Right now we’re a tired basketball team, so two days off from practice are going to do us good,” he said. “Then it’s back to work and getting ourselves ready for Dayton.”
The Colonials have never beaten the Flyers under Hobbs but are an undefeated 10-0 at home this season and have won eight of their last 10 games.
“We’re undefeated at home so we have as good a chance as any to beat them,” Hobbs said. “But they’re still an NCAA Tournament team, they’re the second best team in the league by far, and they have two big guys that are the best two big guys in the league. They know how to win.”