Updated 10:24 P.M., Saturday
RICHMOND, V.A. – As ice and snow blanketed the ground of the University of Richmond campus, the GW men’s basketball team couldn’t stay warm. The Colonials suffered their second loss in three games Saturday afternoon, a 70-59 defeat at the hands of the Spiders.
The Colonials sloppy play induced a season-high 26 turnovers and a season low 59 points. As the Colonials advance further into their Atlantic 10 schedule, coach Karl Hobbs has made clear that the high expectations placed on his team will not be met if they do not start playing better.
Saturday, Hobbs said that the team could not adjust to the Spiders defensive pressure that shut down the stretch.
“I thought clearly we had some plays we forced. We didn’t do a good job making adjustments,” said Hobbs. “We kept trying to make the home run play and we didn’t settle down at take the shot. We tried to do things at 99 miles per hour and we just need to settle down and execute the things we need to do offensively.”
GW (12-4, 4-2 A-10), the 11th highest scoring team in the nation, experienced troubles with offensive production, shooting 41.3 percent from the field and 30.8 percent from beyond the arc. The Colonials top two scorers combined for eight points as T.J. Thompson scored three and Pops Mensah-Bonsu onl had five.
Mensah-Bonsu only played 17 minutes against the Spiders. In the last two games, he has shot only 4-for-13 from the floor.
The Spiders were able to tone down the Colonials scoring machine, forcing them into their weaker half-court set. Although never letting their deficit jump to above 11 points the whole game, the Colonials were not able to spark a run to put themselves in their comfort zone.
In the first half, GW was always one scoring splurge away from taking the lead. The Spiders led by four points with 11:41 remaining in the half when Mike Hall hit a three-pointer to put the Colonials down by one. But Andrea Sandoval (12 points) responded with a lay-up to increase the lead to three points, as Thompson left the game with a knee injury (he later returned). The loss did not trip up the Colonials, as Carl Elliott (12 points) hit a three pointer to tie the game at 20 with ten minutes remaining. This was last tie GW would experience as the Spiders went on a 14-6 run to enter the intermission with a 34-26 halftime lead.
Hobbs’ team left the locker room at halftime to tackle their second largest halftime deficit of the season. After Kevin Steenberge (15 points) connected to increase the Spiders’ lead to 10, the Colonials responded with an 8-0 run, their largest of the game, to bring the lead to two points. The Colonials took the lead on a Mike Hall jumper with 12:17 remaining, but that was the Colonials last taste of success as the Spiders closed them out and outscoring them by 11 points in the last eight minutes of the game.
The Colonials’ schedule does not get easier, as they face perennial league powerhouses Xavier, Dayton, and Temple in their next three games. Coach Hobbs said the Colonials must regain focus to get out of their mini slump.
“Well we have to do the things we’ve been doing and maintain a level of focus and intensity,” said Hobbs. “Since I’ve been here at GW the teams we have coming up have been loses. We have yet to win a game at Richmond. We have our work cut out for us. We are probably the fourth best team in the league now.”
The Colonials have not topped Richmond in the Robins Center since the 1978-1979 season. Last year, the Colonials lost to the Spiders in the Smith Center on senior day, which in addition to last week’s loss to Massachusetts, was one of their two losses in their last 21 home games.
On Tuesday, Xavier will visit Foggy Bottom. The Colonials trail the Musketeers in 17-8 in the all-time series.