Despite losing to Massachusetts Saturday, the Colonials had a largely successful string of games over winter break. GW improved to 11-3 overall while earning spots in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today polls.
GW is currently ranked No. 21 in the AP and No. 22 in the ESPN poll, but could drop a few spots after the loss Saturday.
The only other blemish over break was a 71-65 road loss to then-undefeated West Virginia University on Dec. 29. In the loss, the Colonials were held to less than 70 points for the first time all season. The Mountaineers connected on nine three-pointers in the win and although GW cut the lead to one point with less than four minutes to go, WVU went 9-for-12 from the line to seal it.
The Colonials hit the road on Dec. 23 and headed to South Florida to face Florida International University. The Colonials beat the Golden Panthers 81-71 to give coach Karl Hobbs his 50th career win as a head coach. GW, although looking sluggish at the beginning of the contest, closed out the game on a 10-1 run that gave them a nine point lead with less than three minutes left. Senior T.J. Thompson had a game-high 25 points, scoring 20 in the second half.
After the loss to West Virginia dropped them from 20 to 24 in the AP poll, the Colonials headed home to face La Salle at the Smith Center. La Salle, led by Steve Smith’s 23-point performance, could not handle the Colonials’ intensity. Thompson led a balanced GW attack with 16 points and four rebounds while junior Pops Mensah-Bonsu had a double-double, complete with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
In a similarly dominating performance, the Colonials handed Duquesne an 81-57 loss in Pittsburgh. Junior Mike Hall scored 19 points and grabbed nine rebound while Thompson added 17 points.
In their last road game before returning home to the Smith Center, GW made the trip to Olean, N.Y. to play St. Bonaventure. Mensah-Bonsu led the Colonials with 14 points as GW was able to overcome a slow first half to beat the Bonnies 85-59.