Men’s basketball knocks off unbeaten Blue Hens

Media Credit: Arielle Bader | Assistant Photo Editor

Redshirt senior guard Armel Potter drives to the hoop in a matchup with Delaware Saturday. The Colonials downed the Blue Hens 66–56.

After trailing for more than 10 minutes in the first half, a 37-point second half propelled men’s basketball over Delaware, cracking its undefeated season Saturday.

The Colonials (5–5) entered halftime deadlocked with the Blue Hens (9–1), but a strong finish gave the squad a 10-point cushion as the clock ticked down to a 66–56 victory. The team is riding a two-game win streak after overcoming Boston University Wednesday and reached a .500 winning percentage for the first time since 2017.

“It’s really important through the first half to learn your opponent, learn the things that they are giving you, things they are taking away,” head coach Jamion Christian said. “That’s one of the things we talk a lot about and I just feel like our team is really starting to understand that.”

In the first frame, the Colonials had a slight edge from the floor, shooting at a .440 clip compared to Delaware’s .419 clip. Both teams shot less than 30 percent from beyond the arc, with Delaware netting .222 of its shots and GW scoring .200 of its chances from deep.

Freshman guard Jameer Nelson Jr. struck first, sinking a layup in the paint to put the Colonials on the scoreboard. In the next six minutes, the Blue Hens went on a 9-0 run and extended their lead to seven. GW chipped away at the deficit to knot the score at 16.

Delaware went on another seven-point run dominated by redshirt senior forward Collin Goss, who played for GW from 2015 to 2017. Goss notched a season-high 15 points and led the Blue Hen’s in scoring. After a 13-point first half, the Colonials held him to just two points in the second half.

The squad’s first three-point shot of the game came with less than five minutes left in the first frame. After junior guard Maceo Jack missed a three-point attempt, redshirt senior guard Armel Potter hustled, batting the ball to senior forward Arnaldo Toro, who secured the rebound. The offense reset, and freshman guard Jamison Battle faked out his defender to get an open look at the basket, nailing the baseline triple.

The Colonials had just 10 attempts from the three-point line in the first half, down from their season average of 12.5 attempts in the first frame. Battle, Nelson Jr. and Jack each tried three shots from deep, and Nelson Jr. and Battle connected on one shot each.

In the final seven minutes of the half, the Colonials went on a 13-6 run. The Colonials and Blue Hens entered the half tied at 29. Nelson Jr. led the team in scoring, netting 11 points and shooting 4-of-7 from the field.

A layup from Toro opened the second half. The Colonials and Blue Hens traded buckets before Delaware took a slight lead.

Jack netted his first and second triple of the night, which started and capped an 8-0 run in the second half that briefly gave the Colonials a lead. He went 0-of-4 from the field in the first half and came up empty-handed from the three-point line. In the second half, he posted 11 points, shooting 3-of-6 from deep.

The Colonials and Blue Hens traded points again, locking the game at 50 apiece with less than five minutes to play.

Potter turned on the gas in the final five minutes, dropping 13 points and accounting for 81.3 percent of the team’s total scoring down the stretch. He finished the night leading all scorers with 19 points and six assists. Potter shot 7-of-10 from the field and 1-of-2 from deep.

“It’s this offense that allows me to just be aggressive, make the right reads and having great teammates opens up the floor for me,” Potter said. “I just have to pick and choose what time to attack and I guess today I did a good job at the end of the game.”

Toro also posted 12 points and ripped 17 boards, securing his third double-double of the season in his second game back from injury.

“It feels great,” Toro said. “I worked so hard to try and come back again.”

GW attempted 21 three-point attempts but sunk a season-low six triples. The squad relied on points in the paint for a majority of its offensive production, taking a season-high 36 points. Christian said players aimed to execute any opportunities given on the court instead of relying on pre-selected players to generate points.

“The best mark of a great player is being able to make the play that’s in front of them and have confidence that they can make it,” Christian said. “We’re just trying to start doing that within the offense and the way that ball was moving around today, we’ll be really hard to guard when we do that.”

Christian said the team was without sophomore forward Mezie Offurum for the second straight game because of a suspension for “conduct detrimental to the team.” Christian said he is expected to return fully.

Sophomore guard Amir Harris, who received an NCAA transfer waiver to become immediately eligible for this season, also has not seen game time this season. Christian said he will be reevaluated after the exam break in about two weeks to determine when he’ll return to the court.

The Colonials are back in action Dec. 21 to battle Harvard in the third game of their four-game homestand. Tip-off is slated for noon.

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