Sophomore guard James Bishop had the ball in his hands with 24 seconds on the clock. Trying to reclaim the lead, he lobbed a shot, but it never landed in the hoop and gave possession back to Duquesne.
A late Duke turnover would offer GW another hope at finishing on top. Bishop created space between him and his defender, splashing a triple through the rim. Shutdown defense for the remaining 6.3 seconds helped the Colonials (3-7, 2-1 A-10) nab a 75–73 win and split its series with the Dukes (2-2, 1-1 A-10) Sunday.
“All we talked about was the mental challenge to respond on back-to-back days against a team that really manhandled us in the second half,” head coach Jamion Christian said. “I felt like our guys responded mentally today, and then we got the physical stop that we needed at the end.”
While Bishop hit the game-winning shot, sophomore forward Jamison Battle carried the brunt of GW’s offense. The big man netted a career-high 29 points on 10-of-19 shooting, including 6-of-13 shooting from beyond the arc.
Bishop’s triple was his first made bucket from deep of the contest, and he racked up 16 points and seven assists to round out the afternoon.
“In the first half, I was able to really facilitate,” he said. “And then in the second half since I have already facilitated, now they’ve got to worry about everybody else, and I was able to get going a little bit.”
Graduate student forward Matt Moyer corralled more rebounds than points, finishing the matchup with 15 boards – 46.9 percent of the team’s rebounds – and 14 points for his second straight double-double.
Senior forward Marcus Weathers led the Dukes with 12 rebounds and 19 points, firing at a .615 clip. Sophomore guard Maceo Austin followed with 11 points, accounting for 42.9 percent of the team’s triples. Senior guard Tavian Dunn-Martin rounded out the Dukes in double-digits, netting 10 points.
Like their last meeting, both teams shot at similar percentages. The Dukes’ 46.7 percent from the field held the slight advantage over the Colonials’ 46.4 percent. But GW had the upper hand from behind the arc, firing at a .360 clip compared to Duquesne’s .333 percentage.
The Dukes dominated the paint on both sides of the ball, netting 38 points and collecting 41 rebounds – 16 of which were offensive boards that led to 16 second chance points. The Colonials collected 32 rebounds and only seven came on the offensive end.
“That defensive rebound number is always going to be a battle for us, because we’re built really to shoot the ball from the outside and to be more skilled,” Christian said. “We’ve just got to keep getting better at it but impressed with the improvements of Chase Paar and Hunter Dean, in Jamison Battle.”
Weathers started the scoring off with a layup in the paint, and sophomore forward Chase Paar put the Colonials on the board with a free throw. A 9-0 Colonial run spurred by a Battle triple gave GW a two possession advantage.
Duquesne bounced back to recapture the lead after piecing together a 10-0 run of its own bookended by triples from Austin.
Before the game got away from them, the Colonials began heating up from behind the line, hitting four triples in a two and a half minute span. Battle picked the Dukes’ pocket and took the rock to the rim in addition to hitting two triples during the stretch.
GW maintained a two possession lead, working the advantage up to 12. Duquesne freshman forward Chad Baker closed out the first half scoring with a triple, and the Colonials entered halftime with a nine-point cushion.
Weathers challenged GW in the paint to start the second half, scoring eight of the team’s 12 points in the first eight minutes. GW held off the onslaught of shots in the paint to maintain a two possession lead.
But a 7-2 tilt that saw the Colonials go almost five minutes without a made field goal brought the Dukes within one. A foul on a three-point attempt put Dunn-Martin at the charity stripe with the opportunity to tie the game. He capitalized, hitting all three buckets to knot the teams at 57.
Both teams traded triples before Dunn-Martin picked Moyer’s pocket and took the ball to the hoop for Duquesne’s first lead of the half. Both teams jockeyed for the advantage and the lead changed four times with four ties in the final nine minutes.
Down by one, Bishop attempted a jumper to retake the lead, but it fell short and Duquesne came up with the ball. A Duke turnover gave GW another shot to take the lead in the waning seconds.
Bishop’s attempt from three found nothing but net, and the Colonials took a two-point lead with 6.3 seconds on the clock. Moyer, with four fouls, led GW on the defensive end to prevent a Duke bucket, and GW earned its second conference win 75–73.
“It’s a big stepping stone obviously being 2-1 in A-10 going into UMass,” Battle said. “It hasn’t happened in a while, and I think it just shows what we’ve done in the offseason, what we’ve done to prepare for this moment, and I think it’s a big step for the team.”
The Colonials are back in action to close out its three-game homestand Wednesday against Massachusetts. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.