Men’s basketball dominated Duquesne in Pittsburgh on Wednesday night to bounce back from their blowout loss to Dayton on Saturday.
The Colonials (10-14, 6-6 A-10) put in a wire to wire performance to win 73-52, closing out their three-game road trip where they went 2-1. The Dukes (6-18, 1-11 A-10) looked overmatched offensively, struggling from anywhere outside the paint, scoring 40 of their 52 points down low and shooting just 1-of-21 from three point range.
“They run stuff offensively that’s really hard to guard, so it was good that our guys were able to take it and really play fast tonight by understanding what they were trying to do,” Head Coach Jamion Christian said. “I think they went 1-21 from three tonight and that’s groundbreaking defense from the three point line.”
Duquesne jumped out to a 2-0 lead to open the game and it ended up being their only lead of the night. The Colonials went on a 13-4 run going into the first media timeout, leading by nine points on 4-of-4 shooting in the first six minutes from sophomore guard Joe Bamisile.
“He gives us such great spurtability,” Christian said. “And it means we’re never really out of the fight, with our ability to score the ball, and I think that’s important. To be a good team you got to be able to put the ball in the basket and you got to be able to go on these runs and I feel like we are a team that can do that.”
Bamisile finished with a game-high 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the field and 3-of-7 from beyond the arc while showing off the skills that Colonials fans have come to adore. The Virginia Tech transfer added three assists, two rebounds, a steal, a block and one of his signature windmill dunks.
Freshman guard Brayon Freeman also flourished early in the game driving to the basket and finishing at the rim. He struggled with turnovers early on, committing four in the first half, but cleaned it up in the second half, forfeiting the ball zero times.
“I thought his ability to get downhill and really push the tempo in transition was something that opened up some easy shots for us,” Christian said.
Freeman finished with 10 points, four rebounds, three assists and a steal.
After the Colonials established a large lead midway through the first half, they began to coast and struggled a bit on offense. The Dukes held a 15-2 advantage in offensive rebounding in the first half and forced 11 first half turnovers.
But the Colonials maintained a commanding 33-19 halftime lead thanks to a 9-of-40 first half shooting performance from Duquesne, who scored 18 of their 19 first half points in the paint, with the other one coming at the free throw line.
“They had 15 offensive rebounds in the first half,” Christian said. “But they were missing. At the end of the day, the job of the defense is for them to miss, and we were finding ways, even with all those offensive rebounds, to continue to get to the miss because we were rotating well and staying connected.”
GW started the second half well and dispelled any notion of a Duquesne comeback thanks to back-to-back three pointers from Bamisile and junior guard James Bishop.
The hot start gave the Colonials a 39-19 lead a minute into the second stanza. Bishop averaged 19.1 points per game, finishing with nine points on 4-of-13 shooting and one assist.
Duquesne continued to only find success down low as the second half wore on. But the Dukes finally hit their first field goal outside of the paint with 14:02 remaining thanks to a three pointer from freshman guard Primo Spears to cut the GW lead to 49-26.
The Colonials were in control for the rest of the game and got out to a 71-44 lead, their biggest of the night, with 2:49 remaining before Christian emptied the bench and fielded some players who don’t typically see the floor.
One of these players was senior guard Theonafis Stamoulis, who served as the team manager last season after transferring from Division II Adelphi. Stamoulis finished with two points and one rebound and was awarded the team’s player of the game award, otherwise known as George’s Chain of Command.
“He’s a guy who has put everything into this program for two years,” Christian said. “And it’s good to see him be rewarded.”
The Colonials have surpassed preseason expectations and are currently in eighth place in the Atlantic 10 with only three weeks remaining until the conference tournament.
GW returns home on Saturday to face Rhode Island for a 6 p.m. tip-off as they look to move above .500 in conference play for the first time since January 3, 2021.
This article appeared in the February 17, 2022 issue of the Hatchet.