Men's Basketball Falls in Tight Battle at Richmond
Steeves and Zeigler combine for 39 points but the Colonials fall, 78-68
RICHMOND, Va. -- On Saturday afternoon in Richmond, GW men's basketball was looking to break through its recent road struggles and secure a victory against the Spiders in front of a national television audience. After the last three years of this rivalry saw two double-overtime games and six of seven games decided by single digits, it figured that fans would be treated to another close battle. With no team holding a lead larger than 10 points until the game's final minute, unfortunately for the visiting Colonials it was Richmond which claimed a 78-68 victory in this edition.
For the second consecutive game Bo Zeigler made the start alongside Jair Bolden, Terry Nolan Jr., Patrick Steeves and Yuta Watanabe, and the early going was good for the revamped Colonials' look. Steeves accounted for 11 of GW's first 19 points as the Colonials used a 9-0 spurt to jump out to a 19-14 lead at the under-8:00 timeout of the first half, but as fans of the two programs know, games between these programs are never decided early. The Spiders battled back to take a 32-29 lead late in the first before a Watanabe three-ball equaled the score. Richmond got the half's last bucket to take a two-point edge into the locker room, setting the stage for a second half game of cat and mouse.
The teams stayed close throughout and when Nolan Jr. buried a three to make it 46-45 with just under 14:00 to play, GW assumed its first lead of the second half. Richmond would answer with a three in fitting fashion, but the Colonials wouldn't go away. GW threatened again minutes later as a series that featured a nifty, lefty runner in the lane from Zeigler and back-to-back Bolden assists first to Steeves then to Zeigler drew the Colonials within a point again, but naturally the Spiders answered back with yet another triple.
Richmond was able to keep George Washington at arms lengths for the duration, courtesy of an efficient offense that placed all five starters in double figures. Grant Golden's 24 points paced the home team, followed by 19 from fellow freshman Jacob Gilyard. De'Monte Buckingham (14), Khwan Fore (11) and Nick Sherod (10) were also part of an offense that had success at home against a Colonials' defense that isn't the same on the road as it is at home. For the game Richmond connected at a .580 clip from the floor.
Zeigler finished with 16 points and a season-high nine rebounds in the starting role, his highest scoring output since opening night, while Steeves led all Colonials with 23 points. The pair of grad students combined to shoot 16-of-26 from the field, while the rest of the roster only found its mark on 11-of-35 attempts.
GW returns home for one of just three home games in the long month of January to host Revolutionary Rival George Mason on Wednesday night at 7pm. Following the Mason game, two additional nationally-televised road contests ensue at VCU (Jan. 20th at 12:30) and at Saint Bonaventure (Jan. 28th at noon) both on NBCSN.
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