Men’s basketball starts A-10 play with win at St. Bonaventure

Last time GW students were on campus, freshman Lasan Kromah was arguably the talk of the GW men’s basketball team, an unanticipated breakout star as the sharpshooting specialist of a surprising Colonials squad.

A shooting slump over the school’s winter break saw Kromah go four games without making a three-pointer and hit only four of 25 shots from the field, but the first-year guard seems to have rediscovered his stroke just in time for the spring semester. Kromah set a new career-high with 23 points tonight to help propel GW to a 79-71 win at St. Bonaventure to begin conference play on a successful note.

The Colonials (11-3, 1-0 Atlantic 10) and Bonnies were locked in a tight contest throughout most of a game that saw a total of 12 tied scores and 16 lead changes. Kromah’s scoring started early, as he hit four three-pointers in the game’s first 14 minutes to help GW keep up with their hosts.

St. Bonaventure appeared to have control of the game’s momentum heading into halftime, going on an 8-0 run over the first half’s final 4:25 to hold a four-point lead at the break, but the Colonials wasted no time responding in the second half. Junior Joseph Katuka scored two quick baskets to tie the game and return it to its near-pendulum state.

The Bonnies would eventually lead by as many as five and were up four with just three minutes left when Kromah drained a three – his fifth and final of the game – to cut the Colonials’ deficit to one. After a defensive stop, senior Damian Hollis, who finished second on the team with 12 points, connected on a three-pointer of his own to put GW ahead by two with 2:34 on the clock.

Following a pair of two more stops that included a steal by freshman Bryan Bynes, sophomore Tony Taylor was fouled and sent to the line, where he hit both shots to give the Colonials a four-point, two-possession cushion.

Over the remaining minute, Hollis hit a pair of foul shots, senior Hermann Opoku scored three points, and Kromah added a final layup to arrive at the game’s final score.

Next for the Colonials will be a home game Jan. 10 against A-10 powerhouse Xavier, winners of three of the conference’s last four regular season titles. The opening tip is scheduled for noon.

Game notes: Katuka, Bynes, sophomore Aaron Ware and senior Hermann Opoku tied for third among Colonials with eight points each… Hollis led the team in rebounds with seven. Redshirt sophomore Jabari Edwards was second with five… Taylor, Ware and Bynes tied for the team lead with four assists apiece… The Colonials shot better on three-point shots (64.3 percent) than free throws (61.1 percent)… GW now has more wins (11) than it did all of last season (10) and has tied last year’s mark for road wins in the A-10 with one.

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