GW can’t over­come its shoot­ing slump

St. Bon­aven­ture hands strug­gling Colo­nials third straight de­feat

The Washington Post Sunday - - SPORTS - BY KATHY OR­TON or­tonk@wash­post.com

Ge­orge Washington is find­ing more ways lately to miss bas­kets than to make them. As has been hap­pen­ing all too fre­quently this sea­son, the Colo­nials’ shoot­ing touch dis­ap­peared on them and they strug­gled to put points on the score­board in their 62-49 loss to St. Bon­aven­ture on Satur­day af­ter­noonatSmithCen­ter. It­wasthe third time this sea­son GW has been held be­low 50 points.

“We were play­ing like there was a lid on that bas­ket,” said GW Coach Karl Hobbs, whose team made only 30.8 per­cent of its field goal at­tempts. “It was a strug­gle through­out the en­tire game. I thought at some point we’ll make some con­sec­u­tive shots in a row but for what­ever rea­son we just couldn’t make a shot.”

A strong and loud St. Bon­aven­ture con­tin­gent, which helped giveGWits biggest home crowd of the sea­son, 3,136, gave the Bon­nies the boost they needed to end their 0-14 streak at Smith Cen­ter. They had not won in Washington since Jan. 11, 1989.

The Colo­nials (10-9,3-2At­lantic 10) lost their third con­sec­u­tive game in part be­cause they once again failed to cap­i­tal­ize on their op­po­nent’s ad­ver­sity. St. Bon­aven­ture (10-8, 2-3) col­lected fouls at a rapid rate, which, in the­ory, should have fa­voredGW. The Bon­nies’ re­serves play the fewest min­utes of any team in Di­vi­sion I. Yet when St. Bon­aven­ture’s starters went to the bench in foul trou­ble, the bench play­ers re­sponded.

Four St. Bon­aven­ture play­ers picked up at least two fouls in the first half, in­clud­ing Ogo Adeg­boye and An­drewNi­chol­son. Adeg­boye led the nation in min­utes played (40.5) but­wa­son­the court for only 10 min­utes in the first half af­ter ac­cu­mu­lat­ing three fouls. He played only 18 min­utes be­fore foul­ing out with 2 min­utes 3 sec­onds re­main­ing in the game.

Ni­chol­son, who leads the con­fer­ence in scor­ing at 20.5 points, played only four min­utes and didn’t at­tempt a shot or score a point be­fore half­time. He didn’t score his first point un­til he made a free throw 36 sec­onds into the sec­ond half, and his first field goal didn’tcome­un­til al­most four min­utes af­ter half­time, a 15-foot jumper that put the Bon­nies ahead, 34-25. Ni­chol­son fin­ished with 13 points.

Af­ter David Pel­lom’s layup put GWa­head, 17-16, with 7:47 re­main­ing in the first half, the Colo­nials didn’t make an­other field goal un­til Day­mon War­ren sank a layup with three sec­onds left in the half. That was their only field goal dur­ing a 15-minute span that bridged the first and sec­ond halves.

Even though GW wasn’t mak­ing field goals, it was get­ting plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties at the line. The Colo­nials weren’t do­ing much with their chances, how­ever. They con­verted only six of their 11 foul shots in the first half.

There were 43 fouls and 52 free throws in this game, but nei­ther team was pro­fi­cient at the foul line. GW went 15 of 26, while St. Bon­aven­ture missed 12 of its 26 at­tempts. Pel­lom, a 50per­cent free throw shooter, was the only one hav­ing any suc­cess at the line. He made all nine of his foul shots to fin­ish with 15 points. He also grabbed 10 re­bounds for his sec­ond ca­reer dou­ble-dou­ble.

The Bon­nies fo­cused their de­fen­sive ef­forts on GW’s lead­ing scorer, Tony Tay­lor, and it showed. Tay­lor made only 3 of his 11 field goal at­tempts, fin­ish­ing with nine points.

“We did a tremen­dous job of keep­ingTay­lor in front of us,” Bon­nies Coach Mark Sch­midt said. “I thought that was a huge key for us.”

Op­po­nents have dis­cov­ered that as Tay­lor — the only GW player with a dou­ble-fig­ure scor­ing av­er­age— goes, so go the Colo­nials.

“I think any­time Tony Tay­lor is strug­gling shoot­ing . . . it’s no se­cret: If he’s shoot­ing the ball well and play­ing well, we tend to play a lot bet­ter,” Hobbs said.

Early on, GW did a nice job pre­vent­ing St. Bon­aven­ture from get­ting more than one shot at the bas­ket. That changed as the game wore on. The Bon­nies, who out­re­bounded the Colo­nials, 43-32, grabbed 14 of­fen­sive re­bounds and turned them into 11 points.

Note: Se­nior for­ward Jabari Ed­wards played for the first time since Nov. 22. Ed­wards, who un­der­went arthro­scopic surgery on his left knee on Dec. 22, played eight min­utes and had a nice block.

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