Saturday, Feb. 16, 11:15 p.m.
OLEAN, N.Y., Feb. 16 — The GW men’s basketball team entered its game at St. Bonaventure Saturday trying to avoid two things: another road loss and the Atlantic 10 basement. The Colonials did both, defeating the Bonnies 80-71.
After playing even for the first 12 minutes, GW went on a 14-0 run to break the game open. The Colonials (7-14, 3-8 A-10) hit seven three-pointers in the first half and 54.5 percent for the game in its best shooting performance of the season.
The Bonnies (7-17, 1-9 A-10) also tried to take control of the game from the outside and managed to keep the game close down the stretch. Senior Tyler Relph hit three three-pointers with less than two minutes remaining to pull the Bonnies within five. But they could not overcome the deficit as senior Maureece Rice hit two free throws to make it a three-possession game with 27 seconds left.
“For us, it feels like the (weights) have been lifted off our chests for a minute,” head coach Karl Hobbs said of finally getting that elusive road win. “We put together 40 minutes of basketball. It got a little sloppy at times, but in the end, we made the free throws. It was a tough game, we were able to pull it out.”
Leading the Colonials was sophomore Damian Hollis, who had 17 points, while his family looked on. Hollis’ father, Essie, is a St. Bonaventure hardcourt legend and had his no. 25 jersey retired before the game along with former Bonnie Earl Belcher.
Matching Hollis was Rice, who had his first game with more than 2 points since a Feb. 3 loss at Temple.
“The last three games, (I didn’t score) because the shots weren’t there so I didn’t want to force them,” Rice said. “I took what came to me tonight. I had a lot of open opportunities.”
Junior Noel Wilmore added 16 points, 15 on three-pointers, while classmate Rob Diggs had 12 points.
Because of Fordham’s tie-break advantage with its win over GW in mid-January, the Colonials are still two games out of qualifying for the conference tournament, which is mid-March in Atlantic City. They have five games left to play, three at home and two on the road. They next face Richmond at Smith Center Feb. 23.