Men’s basketball drops to Fordham for first time since 2012

Media Credit: File Photo by Olivia Anderson | Photo Editor

Sophomore guard Justin Mazzulla dribbles the ball during last Saturday's game against Saint Bonaventure.

Men’s basketball lost to Fordham for the first time since 2012 Wednesday night.

The Colonials (8–22, 4–13 A-10) put up one of their worst offensive performances of the season on the way to a 67–56 defeat at the hands of the Rams (12–18, 3–14 A-10). GW finished the game shooting at 32.3 percent, its worst performance from the field since the team shot 32.2 percent against Richmond Jan. 12.

“Outside of us missing shots, I thought we didn’t play hard enough, we didn’t guard hard enough,” head coach Maurice Joseph said.

Despite besting Fordham on the glass with a season-high 50 rebounds, the Colonials’ cold offensive streaks forced them into a deep deficit early on in the contest. GW trailed by as many as 19 points in the first half.

The Rams captured the win despite two regular starters sitting out of the contest. Redshirt junior forward Jesse Bunting and junior guard Antwon Portley were sidelined due to illness. Bunting will sit out the remainder of the season after suffering a minor stroke Monday, and the Colonials wore red shoe laces to honor the guard during Wednesday’s contest.

Sophomore guard Justin Mazzulla led the Colonials with 12 points and sophomore forward Javier Langarica grabbed 15 rebounds – a career high – while adding eight points for GW. Five Rams finished with double-digit scoring totals, while Mazzulla was the only GW player to break 10 points.

Sophomore guard Terry Nolan Jr, who contributes 10.7 points per game, exited the game with 9:39 left in the first half due to a heel injury, according to an athletic department spokesman. Nolan missed two games in February for violating team rules before returning to the floor in GW’s loss to Rhode Island Feb. 26.

An athletic department spokesman declined to facilitate interviews with student-athletes after the game, citing a department policy.

Scoring droughts hindered GW’s efforts in the first half and the Colonials went 10-for-29 from the field – good for 34.5 percent. The Rams ended the half shooting 14-for-30.

Following a Fordham basket to open play, GW went on a 10–3 tear behind makes from Jack, redshirt junior guard Armel Potter, Mazzulla and Langarica to take a 10–5 lead. But the Rams roared back with a 7-0 run of their own to reclaim the advantage.

A layup from redshirt junior guard DJ Williams tied the contest 12–12 and a trio of free throws courtesy of Nolan and Potter extended GW’s lead to 15–12.

But the Colonials went on an 0-for-9 shooting drought that lasted six minutes while Fordham racked up 14 points and pulled ahead. Mazzulla broke the cold spell with a layup with just under seven minutes to play, bringing Fordham’s lead down to 26-17 with 6:58 left in the half.

The Rams continued to run up the score to finish the half, but the Colonials tossed in two baskets at the end of the frame to lessen the gap. GW headed into the locker room at halftime trailing 43–28.

GW reignited its offense in the second half, coming out on a 10–0 run to bring the team within five points before the Rams managed a single basket.

A three-pointer from junior guard Justin Williams brought the contest within one point at 46–45 with 12:20 to go before the final buzzer. Again at the 6:24 mark, the Colonials came within two points of the lead after a layup from Jack – but at that point GW’s offensive spark began to disappear.

The Rams put up a 14–2 run to again pull in front of GW by double-digits, leading by as many as 14 points with 38 seconds left in the game.

“It’s tough, we played a great second half defensively in terms of our energy and clawed all the way back,” Joseph said. “I feel bad for our guys but we dug our own grave in the first half.”

The Colonials will close out their regular season at home against George Mason Saturday at 2 p.m.

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