The GW men’s basketball team did what Atlantic 10 West rival Dayton could not do Saturday: win on the road. In Pittsburgh, the Colonials defeated Duquesne 86-63 a few hours after Xavier held on for a 67-60 victory over Dayton in Cincinnati.
As a result, the Colonials (16-8, 10-3 A-10) are now tied with the Flyers for first place in the A-10 West with just three regular-season games left. GW extended its win streak to five games and has won 10 out of its last 12.
“I am just trying to make sure this team stays focused and just tries to win the game that’s in front of us,” GW head coach Karl Hobbs told The Washington Post after the game. “I really don’t want us to look too, too far ahead of us, but we are in a position where we can finish first or second because we can kind of control our fate, and the only way to do that is to win the game that’s in front of us. At the end of the year, we’ll see where the journey leads us.”
Sophomore Mike Hall had another solid game for GW, tallying 18 points and eight rebounds in 31 minutes of work. Freshman J.R. Pinnock led the Colonials with 19 points and fellow rookie Ricky Lucas added 18.
The contingent of GW freshmen appears to be maturing fast. Pinnock made a number of big shots during Wednesday’s win over Dayton as well.
“I pretty much feel like the second season has already started,” Pinnock told The Post. “Pretty much I already feel like I’ve started my sophomore year … I don’t really consider myself a freshman anymore. I think I’ve been through enough games where that can’t be an excuse.”
GW’s swarming defense forced 22 Duquesne turnovers that led to 30 Colonials points. Hobbs’ squad dominated in nearly all phases of the game, out-shooting the Dukes 60.4 percent to 39.3 percent and earning a 34-28 advantage in rebounding.
The Colonials’ fast-paced and athletic style posed major problems for Duquesne (9-15, 4-9 A-10).
“(GW) got what they wanted any time they wanted it. We were no match for them across the board,” Duquesne head coach Danny Nee said after the game, according to the school’s Web site. “(GW’s) defense bothered us the whole afternoon … Any time we made a run we kept shooting ourselves in the foot. It felt like we were dog paddling. We just can’t simulate their athleticism in practice. We were trying. We just couldn’t get anything done.”
The Colonials opened up a 22-8 first-half lead and went into the break up 48-38. Duquesne made a run in the second, cutting the GW lead to 52-49, but that was as close as the Dukes would come.
GW will now have a week off to prepare for its final home game of the season Saturday at 2 p.m. against Richmond. The Colonials (11-0 at home) will look to record a perfect home season against the Spiders, who beat GW in Richmond earlier this season.