Colo­nials find just enough of­fense to end skid

The Washington Post Sunday - - COLLEGE BASKETBALL - BY KATHY OR­TON 2 or­tonk@wash­

Ge­orge Washington doesn’t get many chances to show­case it­self on tele­vi­sion these days, and there is a rea­son for that: The low-scor­ing, poor-shoot­ing Colo­nials can be tough to watch at times. But those who stayed un­til the end of Satur­day’s game against Saint Louis at Smith Cen­ter saw GW slog its way to a 52-46 vic­tory as the Colo­nials ended a four-game los­ing streak.

“ This was def­i­nitely a pretty slow game,” said Tony Tay­lor, who along with Dwayne Smith com­bined to score 32 of GW’s 52 points.

Slow doesn’t even be­gin to de­scribe the pace of play Satur­day. The game trudged along as both teams went long stretches with­out scor­ing.

It is a mys­tery why the At­lantic 10 would choose this matchup to tele­vise, given Saint Louis’s his­tory in Washington. Smith Cen­ter seems to bring out the worst in the Bil­likens, and this game had all the char­ac­ter­is­tics of the one on Jan. 10, 2008, in which Saint Louis set a mod­ern Di­vi­sion I record for fewest points in a game, a 49-20 loss.

Saint Louis (7-13, 2-5) is not a high-scor­ing team in the best of times. The Bil­likens en­tered the game with the low­est-scor­ing of­fense in the con­fer­ence at 61.6 points per game. But on this day, their fu­til­ity was re­mark­able. Saint Louis went more than 13 min­utes in the sec­ond half with­out scor­ing, and yet the Bil­likens only trailed by five points when they fi­nally broke their drought.

GW (11-10, 4-3) has had its own prob­lems on of­fense this sea­son. The Colo­nials are only av­er­ag­ing 66.1 points per game. In their pre­vi­ous home game, they scored only 49 points in a loss to St. Bon­aven­ture.

Even though GW knew points would be hard to come by against Saint Louis, the Colo­nials strug­gled on of­fense. Through­out the game, their scor­ing came in fits and starts. GW opened the game by scor­ing eight points in a lit­tle more than five min­utes, then re­mained stuck on that num­ber for the next five min­utes.

When GW did score, it came in bunches. Af­ter Ne­manja Mi­kic’s three-pointer broke the Colo­nials’ dry spell, they scored on their next three pos­ses­sions to pull to 19-18. But be­fore GW could take the lead, it turned the ball over on its next three pos­ses­sions as Saint Louis went up 25-18. GW had 10 first-half turnovers that the Bil­likens con­verted into 13 points.

Alit­tle more than five min­utes into the sec­ond half, Kyle Cas­sity’s layup put Saint Louis ahead, 38-33. Cas­sity’s bas­ket was the last field goal Saint Louis made un­til Mike McCall sank a three­p­ointer with 1 minute 18 sec­onds to play that cut GW’s lead to 49-44.

“I thought our de­fense re­ally fin­ished the game off,” GW Coach Karl Hobbs said.

Tay­lor, who had bro­ken out of a scor­ing slump against Xavier on Wed­nes­day when he scored 21 points, sank a three-pointer with 11:16 to play that cut Saint Louis’s lead to 38-36. He tied the score al­most 11/ min­utes later by mak­ing a pair of free throws, part of a 14-1 run by the Colo­nials. Tay­lor scored 19 points to lead GW.

Smith gave GW its first lead since 2-0 when he made a pair of free throws with 7:18 re­main­ing. He had 13 points, a ca­reer-high 13 re­bounds and a ca­reer-high three blocks.

“I love do­ing the dirty work,” he said. “I love get­ting re­bounds and loose balls. . . . It helps us win. I’ll do any­thing so that we can win.”

Af­ter Smith’s foul shots, GW did not trail again.

GW has been a streaky team all sea­son. Now that the Colo­nials have ended one streak, they’d like to start an­other by string­ing to­gether wins, not losses.

“I’ve said this count­less times: Con­sis­tency is a true mea­sure of suc­cess,” Hobbs said. “ That’s what we’re fight­ing right now with this team is to play at a cer­tain level con­sis­tently, in­di­vid­u­ally as well as a team, and that’s go­ing to be a chal­lenge for us for the rest of the sea­son.”

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