Men’s basketball was unable to continue its three game winning streak against Saint Louis Saturday night.
The Colonials scored only 22 first-half points and shot just 34.5 percent on the game, stopping their recent spell of offensive momentum.
After trailing by only three points at halftime the Colonials (13-16, 6-10 A-10) could not hold on to their energy, falling to the Billikens (16-13, 9-7 A-10) 62–53 on the road.
Head coach Maurice Joseph said he was not pleased with the team’s performance, despite knowing the strengths of the Saint Louis team coming into the game.
GW was unable to stop Billikens sophomore forward Jalen Johnson and freshman forward Hasahn French who score 20 and 16 points, respectively. French was an offensive force in the second half for the Billikens, when he scored all of his points.
The Colonials were led by senior guard Yuta Watanabe who scored a team-high 15 points and added four rebounds and one assist. He was followed by sophomore forward Arnaldo Toro who earned a double-double for the second game in a row, bringing in 14 points and a game-high 16 rebounds.
Joseph credited the Billikens’ success to their rebounding and second chance points. The Colonials were outrebounded 40-37 on the glass.
Saint Louis, which leads the A-10 in made free throws, scored 19 points from the charity stripe against the Colonials. The Billikens saw the free throw line 31 times during the game, including 10 times in the last 44 seconds.
The Colonials also saw the free throw line 19 times, but only shot 57.9 percent from it.
“If we are going to miss free throws and we are going to not rebound, we are going to lose games, especially on the road, that’s what happens,” Joseph said. “Credit to them. They did a great job tonight.”
The teams struggled to make shots in the first half with the Colonials and the Billikens both shooting under 40 percent from the floor.
GW took the lead midway through the first half after scoring on three straight possessions, including three-pointers by Watanabe and freshman guard Maceo Jack.
Saint Louis opened the second half with a 4-0 run, scoring two baskets in the first minute.
As the frame progressed, the Colonials reigned in the Billikens with a 7-0 run to close the Billikens lead to only one point around the nine-minute mark. But the Billikens outscored the Colonials 37-31 in the second frame, despite GW’s efforts to make an offensive comeback.
“They were able to slow the game down and play long, drawn-out possessions,” Joseph said. “We just didn’t do a good enough job.”
The Colonials return home Wednesday to take on Fordham for their Senior Night. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m.