Colonials remain winless on road after 18-point loss to St. Bonaventure

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

Freshman guard Justin Mazzulla dribbles the ball up the court during GW's loss against VCU on Jan. 20.

Shots were not falling for men’s basketball at St. Bonaventure Sunday afternoon.

The Colonials shot their lowest percentage in conference play so far – at 32.1 percent – and didn’t limit the Bonnies defense enough to pick up their third conference victory.

Instead, St. Bonaventure (14-6, 4-4 A-10) finished with a 43.8 percent clip from the field and 42.1 percent from behind the arc in a 70–52 win over GW (9-12, 2-6 A-10).

The loss drops the Colonials to 0-9 in games played outside of D.C. and marks their sixth double-digit loss in seven contests.

“It is going to be good to get back home for three straight and get our momentum back,” head coach Maurice Joseph said. “With a young team, and a lot of inexperience, it is tough to play on the road in this league – especially in a place like this.”

The offensive challenges were prevalent up and down GW’s lineup. Freshman guard Terry Nolan Jr. was the only Colonials player who made more shots than he missed and no one on the roster scored more than 13 points.

“We certainly didn’t shoot the ball well, we missed some open ones, we had some bunnies around the rim,” Joseph said. “Sometimes shots are not going to fall.”

On the other side of the floor, St. Bonaventure rode senior guard Matt Mobley’s hot hand. He scored 16 points in the second half alone and connected on five threes on the afternoon.

Mobley and his starting backcourt partner, senior guard Jaylen Adams, stretched out GW’s defense and made it hard for the Colonials to tightly contest both of them. Adams – who was matched up with senior guard Yuta Watanabe – shot just 4-for-12 on the contest but provided a spark with eight assists in the passing game.

“They produce a lot for this team. They both shoot the ball well, they both have the ultimate green light,” Joseph said. “They are deadly and whether it be man or zone, they find ways to get shots.”

The Bonnies first caused problems midway through the second half, as GW committed several turnovers – including four shot clock violations. But neither side found a rhythm offensively and the game remained close.

Similar to four of the Colonials’ previous conference losses, the game saw a drop in energy and success in the second half. St. Bonaventure began the final 20 minutes with a 13-2 run and maintained the advantage with good deep shooting.

“We always, it seems like, play well for 20 minutes – either the first half or second half,” Watanabe said. “We have just got to figure out a way to put it together.”

When the game was close, Joseph made more substitutions than usual, even looking toward sophomore guard Adam Mitola and freshman guard Maceo Jack to supply important minutes.

“It was to give the bench an opportunity to build and grow and plan some for the future as well,” Joseph said. “Also spelling some guys early in the first have to give them more energy.”

Despite a slow offensive start to the matchup, the Colonials relied on their rim protection to stop the Bonnies from taking a lead. GW blocked three shots in the opening four minutes and ended with 11 total blocks on the game.

Freshman guard Terry Nolan Jr. gave the Colonials their first lead with a layup in the fifth minute and sparked GW’s only consistent offensive stretch of the first half. Baskets from Watanabe, graduate student forward Bo Zeigler and sophomore guard Jair Bolden capped off a 9-0 run that put St. Bonaventure behind by eight points.

After Bolden sunk a pull-up jumper with more than 12 minutes before the half, it was the Bonnies turn to streak. The Colonials did not convert on a field goal attempt for the next 10 minutes as St. Bonaventure went on a 12-2 run, including Adams’ first three-pointer, and took a 23–15 lead.

“I thought we started off well. I thought our game plan was great out of the gate and then that stretch was crazy,” Joseph said. “We never really recovered from that stretch.”

An interior floater from graduate student forward Patrick Steeves and free throws from Watanabe cut the difference to two points in the last minutes of the first half. But a Bonnies make from behind the arc sent GW into the locker room trailing 26–21.

After the early run gave St. Bonaventure a 13-point lead, GW looked desperate for scoring opportunities.

Attacking the rim led to a jumper from Bolden and an and-one finish from Nolan, but the Bonnies easily held off the efforts with a three-point barrage. The Colonials trailed by as many as 22 points with more than four minutes to play.

“We didn’t contest enough, we didn’t hustle enough,” Watanabe said. “If we do that kind of effort in the second half, there is no way that we could win.”

The Colonials return to action Wednesday at 7 p.m. for a second attempt at Duquesne (14-8, 5-4 A-10). The Dukes are the first repeat opponent the Colonials face this season after losing by 17 earlier in January.

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