Midway through the season, it seemed as if the Colonials had found their second-half stride. GW exploded for 50 points in the second half to pull out a victory on the road at Oregon State, 45 points in the second against East Carolina, and soundly defeated cross-town rival Howard thanks, at least in part, to the 44 points scored in the second. The Colonials had made the second half their best half.
Lately, though, the Colonials have struggled to match the second-half scoring prowess they showed earlier in the season. Including Saturday afternoon’s 62-49 loss to St. Bonaventure, GW has been held to fewer than 30 second-half points in each of its last three games. Against the Bonnies, the Colonials scored just 24 points after halftime, their second worst half of offensive basketball this season.
“I really wish I had the answer to that question [of why the Colonials are struggling in the second half],” Hobbs said. “Because that’s what we’re trying to solve. We really gotta find a way to put some points on the board.”
GW’s sudden inability to score in the second half has been especially frustrating for the Colonials, who took leads into halftime against both Harvard and Richmond before faltering down the stretch, making the losses that much more frustrating for the players.
“I mean, we basically just tell each other we need to stick together, stay together,” sophomore forward Dwayne Smith said. “Stay together as a team and just keep working hard.”
Saturday, the Colonials had a second-half field goal percentage of just 25.9, the team’s second-lowest percentage in the second half all season. It’s a disturbing trend for Hobbs, who watched his team struggle offensively early in the season without its top returning scorer, only to see the Colonials find a rhythm and then relapse back into offensive stagnation.
When asked to pinpoint factors contributing to the team’s second-half struggles, Hobbs didn’t hesitate as he identified what he felt to be a key piece of the puzzle: junior guard Tony Taylor’s performance in games.
Of the three games in which GW exploded offensively in the second, Taylor was a major factor in all three. He put up 19 points against Oregon State and 26 against East Carolina, establishing himself as a the go-to offensive weapon on the floor for the Colonials.
“I think any time Tony Taylor’s struggling shooting… You know, it’s no secret,” Hobbs said. “If he’s shooting the ball well and playing well, we tend to play a lot better.”