Men’s basketball drops first road contest at Florida State

Media Credit: File Photo by Ethan Stoler | Contributing Photo Editor

Sophomore forward Arnaldo Toro passes the ball during men's basketball's home opener against Howard Nov. 10.

After men’s basketball allowed Florida State to shoot 62.2 percent and lead by 18 points in the first half Tuesday night, a 13-3 run and improved defense was not enough for the Colonials to pick up their second win of the year.

The Colonials (1-1) fell to the Seminoles (1-0) 87–67 in GW’s first road game of the season. Florida State shot 17.8 percent higher from the field and scored 32 more points inside the paint on the night.

“We didn’t get that much film on them being the first game, so there were some surprises there,” head coach Maurice Joseph said. “We thought if we could mix up defenses that we could limit them to taking some bad shots. We did that, but we just got crushed on the glass.”

Freshman guard Terry Nolan Jr. and sophomore guard Jair Bolden led the Colonials with 18 points apiece. Bolden went 4-for-9 from behind the arc, creating some problems for the Seminole defense around the perimeter.

“I thought Terry Nolan for the first time as a freshman being on this kind of stage against these kind of athletes, some of the plays he made were well beyond his years,” Joseph said.

Senior guard Yuta Watanabe (14 points) and sophomore forward Arnaldo Toro (10 points) both added double-digit scoring totals for their second time in two games. The duo combined for 15 rebounds – nearly half the team’s total on the night.

The Seminoles were led by junior guard Terence Mann, the team’s only returning starter, who scored 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting. He was one of five Florida State players in double-digits.

“Their length and athleticism, you cant replicate that with your walk-ons in practice,” Joseph said. “It is something that you have got to face.”

GW committed 19 turnovers in the game, including an average of 3.2 giveaways per starter, hindering the team’s momentum throughout the contest.

“We have got to look at the film and do a much better job handling pressure,” Joseph said. “Because if I am any other team that is about to play us, I’m coming after us.”

One of GW’s bright spots during the game was the team’s free throw shooting. The Colonials went 12-for-14 from the charity stripe, compared to a 3-for-4 clip for the Seminoles.

Graduate student guard Patrick Steeves knocked down a jumper less than a minute into the game, but the Colonials 2–0 advantage only lasted seven seconds and they never regained it. The Seminoles went on a 9-0 run over the next four minutes, which included two baskets from 7-foot-4 Florida state junior center Christ Koumadje.

Baskets from Nolan allowed GW to keep the differential at around 10 points, but the Seminoles went on a 6-0 run in the ninth minute of action, forcing the Colonials to call a timeout.

The two sides traded baskets for the remainder of the first half, but GW’s turnovers restricted their ability to respond to small Florida State runs.

With one minute left before the break, Watanabe sunk his second shot of the game to bring the Seminoles lead down to 16. Mann scored a layup for himself to make the game 50–32 in favor of Florida State heading into halftime.

After free throws gave Florida State its largest lead of the game at 20 points, a jump shot from Bolden jumpstarted a 13-3 run that brought the contest within 10 points approaching the 16-minute mark.

Watanabe and Nolan continued to knock down shots, but inside positioning from Koumadje and good shooting from sophomore guard CJ Walker kept the Colonials out of reach.

Joseph subbed in several members of the bench as the Seminoles finished with a 5-0 run and closed out the win without question.

The Colonials return to action back at the Smith Center Saturday at 2 p.m. against Hampton (1-1) for the first game of the Las Vegas Invitational.

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