Shooting woes stymie men’s basketball in loss to crosstown-rival American

Media Credit: Maya Nair | Photographer

Senior forward Ricky Lindo Jr. led the way for the Colonials with 18 points and nine rebounds while hitting seven of his nine attempts from the floor.

Men’s basketball fell to D.C.-rival American 64-69 Saturday after struggling to convert open jump shots throughout the game.

The Colonials (5-4) struggled to overcome American’s defense, shooting 38.2 percent from the field and 24 percent from beyond the arc, well below their respective season averages of 48 and 34 percent. GW managed to get high-quality looks from midrange and from deep but struggled to capitalize as the Eagles (7-2) overcame an early lead.

Senior forward Ricky Lindo Jr. led the way for the Colonials with 18 points and nine rebounds while hitting seven of his nine attempts from the floor.

Lindo got the scoring started when he collected a missed layup from junior center Noel Brown that he laid back in with ease to put GW on the board first. A minute later, the 650-person crowd at the Smith Center leapt to their feet after Lindo powered home a two-hand dunk off an assist from senior guard James Bishop, giving the Colonials a quick 4–0 lead two minutes into the game.

GW pushed their lead to six – their highest advantage of the night – just after the 15-minute mark when Bishop netted a trio of free throws after drawing a foul from beyond the arc. Eagles junior forward Johnny O’Neil finished a contested layup in response before knocking down a 3-pointer on the next possession to cut the GW lead to just a point with 12 minutes to play in the half.

With just under 10 minutes to go, Bishop rattled in a high floater to push the GW lead to 5. Bishop finished with 14 points and seven assists but shot 30 percent from the floor, his lowest mark on the season.

American took their first lead of the night with less than six minutes remaining until the half when freshman guard Geoff Sprouse hit a jump shot from the high post to make it 20-18. Senior forward Qwanzi Samuels knotted it back up for the Colonials with a slashing baseline dunk.

The Eagles pushed ahead again to a 7-point lead and closed out the half up 30-24.

GW shot just under 30 percent from the field and made one of their 12 attempted deep balls in the first half, despite consistently gaining open looks.

“In the first half we had some good looks,” Head Coach Chris Caputo said. “Going into the game we were eighth in the country in effective field goal percentage so you would think some of those would go in, but we told them at halftime that we got good looks and competed defensively.”

The lead would change hands seven different times in the second half, and a 3-point deficient in the first four minutes would be the only hurdle for the Eagles before they took off on a 13–5 run. A deep 3-pointer from O’Neil to beat the shot clock punctuated the offensive tear to give American a 53-46 lead. O’Neil led the game with 19 points while collecting six rebounds.

With just under three minutes to go in the second half, Adams drained a deep 3-ball off an assist from Bishop to bring the game back to within two possessions. The next play, Harris stole the ball and ignited the fast break to give Lindo an easy two points that cut the lead to just a basket.

American junior forward Matt Rogers posterized Lindo for a resounding dunk in response that stole back the momentum and pushed the lead to 4 with a little more than a minute to play. After both squads exchanged empty possessions, GW began to intentionally foul to stop the clock, down two possessions with less than 50 seconds left.

Down six, Adams scored a tough layup and drew the and-one, halving the lead for the Colonials as 35 seconds remained. Harris stole the ball off American’s next baseline inbound but couldn’t net a contested, fadeaway layup that would have cut the lead to one.

GW was not able to foul and stop the clock until time ticked down to 20 seconds. American converted two free throws on the final possession to finish with a 5-point victory, 69–64.

GW’s leading scorers and starting guards Adams and Bishop combined for less than 30 percent shooting from the field, compared to their season average of 48 percent, leaving an uphill battle for the rest of the Colonials’ offense. American finished the game at a 50 percent mark from the floor and 38 percent from three.

Senior forward Hunter Dean – who usually starts as the high post in the GW offense – did not suit up for the first time since the season opener. Caputo said Dean was injured but did not give specific details on the injury. Dean is fifth in scoring for the Colonials and ranks second only to Lindo in rebounds.

“They play hard every night and they had points and made their free throws, James had seven assists,” Caputo said. “But it is going to be hard if they go 7/25, those two guys, for our team, especially without Hunter, it’s going to be hard for us. That’s just the reality.”

GW will continue non-conference play versus Coppin State Tuesday at 6 p.m.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.