Preview: Men’s basketball vs. St. Bonaventure

Media Credit: Olivia Anderson | Photo Editor

Freshman forward Mezie Offrum attempts a basket during an away game last Saturday against VCU.

Who: Men’s basketball
Where: Smith Center, Washington D.C.
When: Saturday at 4 p.m.

After two straight losses on the road, men’s basketball returns to the Smith Center Saturday to take on St. Bonaventure.

The Colonials (8-20, 4-11 A-10) are coming off an 80–53 trouncing at Rhode Island where the Colonials shot 39.2 percent on the night and turned the ball over 19 times. St Bonaventure (14-4, 10-5 A-10) most recently captured a 68–47 victory against Duquesne.

The two teams most recently met last January when the Bonnies came away with a 70–52 win. 2018-graduate Yuta Watanabe was GW’s high scorer with 13 points while sophomore guard Terry Nolan Jr. added 12 points as a rookie.

Case for the Colonials:

The Colonials are coming off a rough stretch of two straight 20-point losses where the squad shot less than 40.0 percent in both contests. To come away with a win today, GW will need to stabilize its shooting numbers.

Redshirt junior guard DJ Williams and sophomore guard Maceo Jack, who have been two of GW’s biggest offensive weapons in conference play, were stagnant against Rhode Island. The duo had a combined 15 points, while Williams alone averages 14.4 points per game and Jack adds a season average of 10.9 points per game. If the Colonials want to find offensive success today, Williams and Jack will need to find the net more frequently.

Head coach Maurice Joseph has emphasized the team’s success when sharing the ball and working as a unit on offense, and GW recorded just six assists in its recent loss against the Rams. To find success today, they will likely look to share the ball more but this approach could spell trouble if the team is not careful with the rock.

Turnovers have hindered GW lately, and the Bonnies force them at a rate of 13.8 turnovers per game. The Colonials average 13.2 turnovers per game on the season but finished their last game with 19. To get ahead against St. Bonaventure, the team will need to protect the ball better than they have of late to give their offense a chance to get flowing.

Case for the Bonnies:

St. Bonaventure is coming off of five straight wins and has not lost a contest since dropping an 85–55 decision against VCU Feb. 9. Since then, the Bonnies have racked up wins against Saint Joseph’s, George Mason, La Salle, Fordham and Duquesne.

GW has not shot the ball well in its past two contests, and the Bonnies have held their opponents to a 41.1 percent shooting clip on average this season, which doesn’t bode well for the Colonials’ struggling offense.

The Bonnies have four players on their roster who average double-digit points per game. Senior forward Courtney Stockard and freshman guard Kyle Lofton have been the team’s biggest offensive weapons in this half of the season. Stockard and Lofton have switched off leading the team in scoring during four out of the last five contests, with Stockard most recently raining down a team-leading 21 points against the Dukes.

GW has had mixed results this season with shutting down other team’s main scorers, but one of its biggest downfalls has been teams that employ multiple offensive threats. With both a guard and a forward that have been putting up big scoring numbers in addition to two other regular double-digit scorers, the Colonial defense will likely have a hard time keeping up with the Bonnies.

Rebounding has also been a pain point all season for the Colonials, and St. Bonaventure possesses one of the conference’s leading rebounders in freshman forward Osun Osunniyi, who averages 7.1 boards per game. Overall, the Bonnies average 34.6 rebounds per game to GW’s 33.0 rebounds per game, but Osunniyi’s presence down low may be enough for the Bonnies to dominate the glass.

Bottom line:

The Bonnies have momentum, a higher powered offense and one of the strongest rebounders in the conference working in their favor. Even if GW is able to improve its ball security and put up a strong shooting performance, St. Bonaventure is likely to come out on top.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.