Freshman forward Chase Paar’s quick hands earned him a steal and an easy path toward a slam dunk at Saint Joseph’s basket Saturday. The jump shot was his first career double-double, but the accomplishment was just the cherry on top of a dominant GW performance.
The Colonials (9-11, 3-4 A-10) trounced the Hawks (4-16, 0-7 A-10) 85–69 at the Smith Center. The final score marks the most points GW has scored in a single contest this season.
Head coach Jamion Christian said the squad was looking for redemption after a tough loss against Fordham last week.
“I think that we felt like we didn’t play our very best against a good Fordham team that was very hungry themselves,” Christian said. “The guys just really wanted to get out here and start to prove how good we can be, and they were excited for the opportunity to lace it back up against a good team.”
The Colonials performed their most accurate shooting of the season and an iron-tight defensive effort against the Hawks. GW went 31-of-56 from the floor, shooting at a 55.4 percent clip. The offense sunk 10 triples, the most since the contest against Longwood.
The Colonials spread the ball around the floor, reaching 18 assists. Redshirt senior Armel Potter led the floor with seven and freshman guard Shawn Walker Jr. followed behind with five helpers in just six minutes of play. Christian said his offense did not oversimplify itself but stayed aggressive to allow shooters to space the floor.
“I wouldn’t say we simplified anything because our offense is pretty complicated, but just making sure that guys know where they can be aggressive at is really important,” Christian said. “When we’re able to move the ball like that, Maceo and Jamison can spot-up and be ball recipients, be able to space the floor.”
Young first-year talent was on full display for the Colonials. Paar, freshman forward Jamison Battle and freshman guard Jameer Nelson Jr. made major contributions, combining for 47 points on the day.
“We just hit shots and we got each other open,” Nelson Jr. said. “ I think there’s a lot of trust in this offense that everybody will do their job and we just stay together and trust in each other.”
Defensively, the Colonials did not allow room for error from the Hawks. GW converted 13 turnovers into 23 points and took six steals and five blocks on the night. In contrast, the Colonials allowed only seven turnovers, its lowest tally since it faced South Carolina.
Every starter for GW ended the night in double-digits. Nelson Jr. notched a career-high 22 points against his father’s alma mater. Paar ended the night with 10 points and 11 rebounds to complete his first career double-double.
Christian said Paar’s relationships with his teammates are a crucial component to his success.
“He fits what we love to do offensively and he does all those things really well, but he’s just a really great communicator with the guys,” Christian said. “They guys love being around him. Everyone sees the things he can do on the floor.”
Paar won the tip off and the Colonials claimed an early lead, opening play with a 5-0 run. In just more than five minutes of play, GW was up 11–3 over the Hawks.
The three-ball fell early and often for the Colonials in the first half. Nelson Jr., Battle and junior guard Maceo Jack sunk shots from the perimeter in succession, building the lead to 13. Junior forward Anthony Longpré responded by sinking one of the Hawks’ two triples in the half.
Jack wasn’t finished from the three-point line and nailed another shot, starting a seven-point run from the Colonials that culminated in a 17-point lead. GW never let the cushion fall below 15 points, growing to 24 points with under three minutes to play.
The Colonials remained hot throughout the first half, carrying a .581 field goal percentage and heading to the locker room with a comfortable 21-point lead.
The Colonials had an electric first half, dropping 46 points on the Hawks — the most they’ve scored in the first half all season. They limited Saint Joseph’s to 25 points off 9-of-26 shooting from the field and 2-of-12 from deep.
GW remained consistent throughout the contest, but the Hawks turned on the gas in the second frame, notching 44 points and jumping from a 34.6 field goal percentage to a 51.7 percentage.
Despite the increased shooting efficiency, Saint Joseph’s couldn’t overcome GW’s lead. The Hawks widdled it down to 15 points twice, but the Colonials had an answer for every Hawk bucket, earning the 16-point victory.
GW returns to the Smith Center to face Davidson next Wednesday at 7 p.m.