Here’s what you missed from GW’s basketball over winter break

Media Credit: File Photo by Jennifer Igbonoba | Staff Photographer

The Colonials will continue their A-10 run looking to maintain their fifth-place rank as the tournament looms.

Updated: Jan. 18, 2023 at 7:29 p.m.

Men’s and women’s basketball kicked off the Atlantic 10 Conference run over winter break, climbing to sixth place and fourth place in the conference, respectively.

Men’s Head Coach Chris Caputo and women’s Head Coach Caroline McCombs have injected new life into their programs, paving both teams’ offenses by quickening their transitions and the men’s team making .475 from beyond the arc. Both programs hold their best A-10 start since the 2016-17 season with sixth- and second-place standings that could give them a good seeding for the A-10 tournament run.

Here’s a recap of the first games of the conference slate for both programs:

Men’s basketball:

The men’s team opened A-10 play with an away game in Chicago on New Year’s Eve, facing off against A-10 newcomer Loyola Chicago, which joined the A-10 in November 2021,  notching a 97-87 win.

The Colonials (3-1, 9-9) opened the game with 10 straight buckets from long range that set the rhythm for their 64 percent shooting from the field on the game while shooting 10-for-17 deep balls. The game marked the team’s first 90-point performance in any game since 2018, when the Colonials downed the Richmond Spiders 103-77.

Senior guard James Bishop dropped 40 points for the second time this season on 12-for-18 shooting from the field and 5-for-8 from beyond the arc while going 11-for-12 on free throws. Senior guard Brendan Adams shot seven of nine from the floor, recording 19 points and five assists, while senior forward Ricky Lindo Jr. connected on a pair of 3-pointers, notching 13 points while grabbing six boards.

In their second A-10 matchup on Jan. 4, the Colonials took on Richmond in Virginia, where the Spiders, the reigning A-10 champions, pumped up their defense in the second quarter to ensure a 73-63 victory. Bishop dropped 16 points in the first half, with all 16 of them coming from the paint.

The teams went back and forth during the first half, staying within 5 points of one another while exchanging nine lead changes and eight ties. The Colonials shot just 10-for-32 in the second half, where they tied a season-low 24 points, especially struggling from beyond the arc, where they shot 5-for-26.

GW played their first home game of the A-10 cycle three days later, ousting UMass 81-73 and pushing their record in the Smith Center to 7-2. The Colonials have outperformed their opponents at home by an average of 11.1 points per game.

Bishop was once again an integral player for the game, notching 15 points before halftime on his way to a total of 26 points, shooting 8-for-13 from the field and dishing out five assists. The Colonials recorded the game’s largest lead of 19 points in the second half, but the Minutemen clawed back to within 5 points with a series of jump shots before time expired.

The Colonials took advantage of their trips to the free throw line, sinking 20-of-25 with Bishop recording 6-of-7. GW is currently ranked second in the A-10 and 64th in the NCAA with a 74.3 percent at the free throw line.

After the win against UMass, GW entered a weeklong break from A-10 Conference play.

The Colonials resumed conference play at the Smith Center Saturday, where they lost against Saint Louis 81-74 after the Billikens took advantage of the 3-point line, shooting 7-for-16 from beyond the arc to cement their win. GW started the game with a 39-31 lead, but in the first 10 minutes of the second half, the Billikens went on a 25-0 run and shut the door on a Colonials win.

The Billikens took the opportunity to outscore GW 32-10 and shot a .527 clip from the floor.

The Colonials will face George Mason Tuesday, where they hope to shake off their last loss.

Women’s basketball:

The women’s basketball program kicked off their first conference game against Richmond Dec. 31, who cost the Colonials their first A-10 matchup in their face-off last season. GW locked down their opponent with their tough defense, leading them to a 65-63 win.

The lead changed 12 times throughout the game, with the Colonials kicking off the first quarter shooting at a 53 percent clip as Richmond hit 62 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc. The Spiders shooting gave them an early 24-19 lead entering the second quarter, but the Colonials responded with an 8-2 run in the final three minutes of the quarter to make it a 32-31 game at halftime.

Freshman guard Nya Robertson scored 7 points in the fourth quarter, including a 3-pointer that propelled GW to their 65-59 lead in the third quarter, with the Colonial defense ending any chances of victory for the Spiders. GW recorded its fourth consecutive win – their longest win streak under McCombs’ leadership and the first victory to open the A-10 stretch since the 2016-17 season.

The Colonials took on Saint Joseph’s on Jan. 4 at the Smith Center, where they hoped to extend their overall winning streak to five games. Instead they suffered a tough 77-61 loss. Graduate student guard Mia Lakstigala and junior guard Asjah Innisss combined for 31 points, shooting 13-for-26 from the field, but the rest of the team struggled to connect, hitting just .381 of their shots from 3-point range.

The Hawks stretched their lead to 19 points in the second half, the largest margin in the game and one that would prove too steep for the Colonials to overcome. The Hawks shot at a .605 clip from the floor and .467 from the long-range that the Colonials failed to stifle with sluggish defense, resulting in their first conference loss of the season.

The Colonials headed to New York for their first road game on Jan. 8, where they edged out St. Bonaventure with a 65-53 GW after the Colonials struggled to make space in the paint to shoot.

Both teams had difficulty shooting, recording below 40 percent in the opening quarter, as GW only managed to hit seven shots in the first 10 minutes. A pair of 3-pointers by Inniss and Robertson pushed GW to a 16-11 lead after the first quarter that the Colonials maintained until the second quarter.

The Bonnies’ offense broke through in the second quarter with 15 points that chipped the GW lead down to 14 points entering halftime. The Colonials’ offense struggled in the second half, netting just two of its 16 attempted shots, but the defense stepped up to keep the Bonnies from gaining rhythm, holding them to just 3-for-14 shooting and eight points.

The Colonials looked for their first win in six years against Fordham on Jan. 11, where the team rose to the occasion, downing the Rams 63-57 for their third conference win of the season at the Smith Center. The game kicked off with a back-and-forth battle in the first 20 minutes with six lead changes with neither team leading by more than 5 points.

The Colonials held the Rams to just 57 points, a season-low for the Fordham team. Robertson helped GW’s offense with 23 points, 18 of which came in the second half.

The Colonials then took on La Salle at home on Jan. 14, where they fell 74-65 after 12 consecutive 3-point shots from the Explorers doomed the 10-point lead set by GW in the first 10 minutes. GW would only go 5-for-17 in the second quarter, which would shut the door on the Colonials’ opportunities to regain the lead.

In the third quarter, the Colonials continued with the slowed offense, only hitting 4-for-14 attempts marking a 55-44 score. GW finally gained momentum in the fourth quarter burying four 3-pointers and scraping the lead to just six points.

The Colonials will continue their A-10 run looking to maintain their fifth-place rank as the tournament looms.

This post has been updated to correct the following:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that Harvey was redshirted after men’s basketball’s game against St. Louis Saturday. Harvey has been out with an injury in recent games but has not been redshirted. We regret this error.

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