GW defeated Davidson by a narrow 75-70 margin Wednesday night in a late-game comeback surge led by senior guard James Bishop.
The Colonials trailed by single digits for the majority of the matchup, never going down by more than 9, and pulling out in front 12 minutes into the second half. Bishop, who scored 9 of his 26 points in the final four minutes, led the decisive offensive burst, propelling GW to their fourth-straight win and moving them to seventh place in the A-10.
The Colonials struggled to score consistently in the first half, going 0-8 from beyond the arc and shooting just .379 percent from the field. But the defense held their own before halftime, keeping the Wildcats to .400 percent shooting and winning the rebound battle 35-34.
The first five minutes of play featured lackluster offensive production from both sides, with only five made shots from the floor enabling a 5-4 Davidson advantage. Six minutes in, the Wildcats pushed their early lead to 13-6 off a wing three by redshirt junior forward Sam Mennega.
Mennega led the way for Davidson with 23 points and eight boards on a night when the GW defense held their leading scorer senior guard Foster Loyer to a .300 percent clip from the field on six of 20 shooting.
With eight to play, the Wildcats still couldn’t manage to build a lead beyond two scores despite a four-minute GW scoring drought. Senior forward Hunter Dean brought the Davidson lead back down to 3 after converting an and-one on a high key jumper with 7:44 remaining.
Dean continued his recent hot streak from last game, coming up just one rebound shy of a double-double with 11 points in 33 minutes of play. His performance followed a career-high scoring night Saturday with 21 points in the victory over La Salle.
Davidson went on to spark the only major offensive push of the first half, cobbling together a 13-8 run to give them their largest advantage yet, up 32-24 with just under two to go. Senior forward Ricky Lindo Jr. softened the blow with a hard dunk on the other end to bring the Colonials two points closer as it went to halftime.
Lindo managed to hold down the painted area all game, pulling down a game-high 11 rebounds in addition to a block and a steal, to anchor the Colonials defense.
The second half started with a trey from redshirt freshman guard Maximus Edwards that cut the lead to three at 32-29. Scoring started to accelerate for the Wildcats as they headed toward their largest lead of the night with another 13-8 run that put them up 9 by a score of 46-37 with 15:46 to play.
Edwards played an efficient game offensively, logging a heavy 38 minutes. He only fired seven shots and connected on four of them for a 10-point total.
Bishop responded to the Davidson hot streak with a second-chance jumper on the other end. The next possession, a fastbreak score from graduate guard Brendan Adams brought GW to within five just a minute after the Davidson run concluded.
The score continued to narrow before Dean tied up the game at 48 with 11:19 to play after an inside score off the assist from Bishop. The scoring burst from both sides slowed from there, and the game remained close, with the score deadlocking again at 57 with 5:22 to play.
Adams nailed a 3 off the dribble to capture a 3-point advantage, setting up a single-handed scoring surge from Bishop that would lock up a victory for the Colonials. Starting with a deep 3 of his own with 3:14 to play, Bishop strung together four straight GW buckets, culminating in two free throws that gave GW a 6-point advantage with just under a minute to play to close out the game.
The Colonials offense came together when it counted, defying a shaky first half to pull off a consequential win that places them sixth in the ever-shifting A-10 standings. With just one game remaining before the tournament, the Colonials are locked into the top 7, ensuring a first-round bye.
The final regular season game will take place at the Smith Center against VCU at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
This article appeared in the March 2, 2023 issue of the Hatchet.