Men’s basketball dropped a close matchup to La Salle, 75-64, failing to capitalize on a massive second-half surge where they led by as much as 6 after a lackluster first half.
The Colonials (11-12, 5-5 A-10) never found a consistent offensive rhythm as the home crowd pushed the underdog Explorers (10-13, 4-6, A-10) to a hard-fought victory. Redshirt freshman guard Maximus Edwards got the scoring started, burying a three on the first GW possession. The quick start would end there for the Colonials, as they would fail to net another field goal for the next four minutes before the drought ended when senior forward Qwanzi Samuels converted a layup, making it 5-4 GW.
From there, La Salle burst into a 13-2 run led by forward Mamadou Doucoure who contributed 6 as the Explorers established a 17-5 lead with 11 minutes to play in the first half.
The Explorers would finish the half shooting 48.3 percent from the field and a stellar 40 percent from beyond the arc compared to GW’s 38.7 percent and 25 percent, respectively.
As the Colonials approached the eight-minute mark, they had still only registered 11 total points to the Explorers’ 22.
Turnovers played a key factor in the lackluster GW offensive performance, as they committed four within the first four minutes, and 16 by the end of the night, well above their season average of 12.6.
The Colonials dug themselves out of their lethargic start slowly, staying within 15 points as La Salle continued their offensive onslaught. With roughly five minutes to go, senior guard James Bishop sunk a three to accentuate a very modest GW push, making it 18-29.
Bishop, the leading scorer for both GW and the A-10, started an uncharacteristic 0/5 from the field before turning it around and scoring a Colonial-leading 9 points by the end of the half. Despite his slow start, Bishop helped pull GW back within single digits as the half came to a close.
Bishop wrapped up the half with two more scores to give GW a deceivingly narrow disadvantage at the buzzer, 28-35.
A limited rotation also contributed to the Colonials’ loss, as only eight players checked in, with 3 of them playing fifteen minutes or less. Aside from the fatigue accrued with the GW starters logging such heavy minutes, both starting big men, senior forwards Hunter Dean and Ricky Lindo Jr. fouled out before time expired.
Despite the first half numbers working against them, the Colonials were not yet done battling. To start the second half, GW instituted a massive 17-4 surge, culminating in their own lead at 45-39.
The advantage turned out to be short lived, as La Salle only relinquished their lead for a total of four minutes and 39 seconds. Both Edwards and graduate student guard Brendan Adams contributed 5 of their own to the single large GW run.
La Salle recaptured their lead quickly, relying on a balanced offensive attack that saw them register four players in double digits and with eight players scoring more than 6 points. Foul line opportunities stayed consistently available for the Explorers as well, and they knocked down more than 70 percent in the second half.
This article appeared in the February 6, 2023 issue of the Hatchet.