Men's Basketball Drops Close One to Duquesne, 75-73
Steeves scores 23 and the Colonials dish out a season-high 23 assists
WASHINGTON -- Looking for a spark with a new look starting line-up, GW men's basketball took the floor with freshman Justin Mazzulla making his first career start at the point. Mazzulla delivered with sharp execution of the offense in a career-high seven assist performance, but as the game came to a close the Colonials fell a bucket shy, 75-73.
A furious finish in the game's final minute was fitting for a contest in which neither side led by more than seven and the lead changed hands eight times. The Colonials trailed by seven with :31 seconds to play, but a lay-in by Patrick Steeves (game-high 23 points on 9-of-11 shooting) trimmed the margin to five with :25 on the clock. After a missed Duquesne free throw on the front end of a 1-and-1, Yuta Watanabe drew GW to within two on his three-pointer with a dozen ticks remaining. The Dukes extended back to a three-point lead with a freebie, before a Terry Nolan Jr. layup cut the lead to a single point with :05.1 seconds left. On the ensuing inbounds, the trapping defense of GW had a Duquesne ball-handler pinned in a backcourt corner, but a foul was called before a potential traveling violation was spotted to send Duquesne back to the line. A successful make and a purposeful errant miss on the back end of two free throws forced a desperation three-quarters court heave from Steeves to try to win it, but it wasn't to be.
Steeves also had a team-high six rebounds for the Colonials, but the team rebounding of the Dukes got it done for the visitors. Ten men on the Duquesne side grabbed at least one board, and the Dukes translated nine offensive rebounds into a substantial 18-3 differential in second chance points that provided the big difference maker. Duquesne's deeper bench also was a factor against the short-handed Colonials as the road team seized a 35-11 edge in points from its reserves. GW got solid bench production from Jair Bolden, who gave way to Mazzulla in the starting unit, but played 30 minutes of solid basketball. Bolden chipped in 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting, including both of his three-point tries, while registering a career-high eight assists against just one turnover. Watanabe finished with 15 for GW, while Nolan Jr. had 16 points, and every Colonials that saw action logged at least one assist as GW dished out a season-high 23 helpers on the evening.
The Colonials outshot the Dukes .509 to .500, but it was Duquesne's three-point marksmanship that gave them a leg up. For the contest they hit 9-of-14 (.643) from long range, led by Mike Lewis II's 3-of-5 effort (7-of-10 overall) en route to his team-high 17 points. Tarin Smith connected on 2-of-3 threes (5-of-7 overall) to net 15 points, while Eric Willams Jr. hit a pair of threes in his 11-point outing while snaring a team-high five rebounds. Marko Krivacevic also hit a pair of crucial triples in a :90 second half stretch that gave Duquesne a five-point lead at the under 8:00 media timeout.
The Colonials get another home game to try to snap out of a mid A-10 season funk with Davidson coming to DC for Homecoming on Saturday at 4pm. The game will air regionally at 4pm on NBC Sports Washington, following the induction earlier in the day of GW men's basketball alumni Gene Guarilia and Yegor Mescheriakov into the GW Athletic Hall of Fame.
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Maurice Joseph took a glance at the box score in his hand and cracked a grin.
Of course, the GW head coach was pleased with Yuta Watanabe’s career-hig...