Late Surge Not Enough as GW Men's Hoops Falls at St. Bona, 66-56
Jan. 4, 2012
ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. - Trailing by 19 early in the second half, George Washington men's basketball used a 15-1 run to close within five, but St. Bonaventure withstood the rally to defeat the Colonials, 66-56, in both teams' Atlantic 10 opener at Reilly Center on Wednesday.
For GW (5-9, 0-1 A-10), it was just its second loss in its last eight A-10 openers, and its second consecutive loss to St. Bonaventure (8-5, 1-0 A-10) after the Bonnies posted a 62-49 win over the Colonials in Washington last January.
Senior Tony Taylor led GW with 11 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals, but committed a game-high six of the team's season-high 19 turnovers. Junior Dwayne Smith also reached double figures with 10 points and added four boards and three steals, and junior David Pellom chipped in eight points and five rebounds.
St. Bonaventure (8-5, 1-0 A-10) won its third straight game overall behind four double-digit scorers, paced by 15 points each from Andrew Nicholson and reserve Chris Johnson. Demitrius Conger chipped in 11 points and Eric Mosley hit two of SBU's five 3-pointers en route to 10 points off the bench.
GW stormed back after falling behind 40-21 just over a minute and a half into the second stanza. Preseason First Team All-A-10 pick Taylor hit a mid-range jumper and assisted three baskets, and junior Bryan Bynes converted a three-point play during a 15-1 run over a five-minute span to pull the Colonials within 41-36 with 12:11 to play.
St. Bonaventure responded behind its own preseason First Team All-A-10 selection in Nicholson. Nicholson went to the bench with his third foul with 15:58 remaining, but returned 2:40 later and ended GW's rally with consecutive three-point plays that helped SBU grab a 51-39 lead with 8:25 left.
The teams traded baskets down the stretch, with GW managing to trim its deficit to 60-54 with 1:29 left behind trapping full-court pressure and a series of four free throws. However, SBU's Johnson was able to beat the press for an easy lay-in and an eight-point margin with less than a minute to play.
GW shot just 36 percent in the opening half against SBU for the second straight season to find itself in a 36-21 deficit at halftime. Freshman John Kopriva scored over the 6-foot-9 Nicholson on GW's opening possession, but Nicholson netted the next seven points and the Bonnies never trailed again.
Nicholson was saddled with his second foul with GW trailing 18-10 at the 9:16 mark, but SBU stemmed the tide by outscoring GW, 18-11, with its leading scorer on the bench and closed the half with a 15-point advantage.
Despite forcing 22 turnovers - its fourth game with 20-plus takeaways this season - GW only enjoyed a 20-16 edge in points off turnovers due to its season-high 19 giveaways, which included 15 unforced turnovers.
GW improved to 52 percent in the second half to finish at 45 percent (22-49) from the floor, but converted just 1-of-8 three-pointers on the night and missed five pivotal free throws during its second-half rally to finish 11-of-17 at the foul line. SBU shot 53.5 percent (23-43) for the contest, the second-best shooting performance by a GW opponent this season.
GW travels to St. Louis, Mo., on Thursday and continues its A-10 opening week road trip at Saint Louis (12-3, 0-1 A-10) on Saturday at 8:00 p.m. ET. The contest can be listened to live on GW All-Access, as well as FederalNewsRadio.com and 1500/820 AM.