GW Men's Hoops Fights Back, Falls to #14 Butler, 59-56
Feb. 9, 2013
WASHINGTON - Playing before a standing-room only capacity crowd, George Washington men's basketball roared back within a point with 44 seconds to play, but #14 Butler held on to edge the Colonials, 59-56, at the Charles E. Smith Center on Saturday.
It marked the first-ever meeting between the new Atlantic 10 Conference rivals, and the 14th-ranked Bulldogs were the highest nationally ranked opponent to visit the Smith Center since 2000.
The first sell-out crowd at the Smith Center since 2006 witnessed GW (11-11, 5-4 A-10) cut a 48-31 deficit with 12:02 left to 57-56 after a pair of free throws from freshman Joe McDonald. Butler (20-4, 7-2 A-10) tacked on two foul shots from Kellen Dunham with 23.8 seconds left for a three-point lead to set up a frantic final sequence.
The Colonials missed three-point attempts from McDonald and junior Nemanja Mikic, the second after Butler's Roosevelt Jones turned the ball over on an inbound play with 9.4 seconds left. GW had a third opportunity to send the game to overtime, but McDonald was stripped on an inbound pass with four seconds left and time expired before Lasan Kromah could regain possession for one final shot.
Forward Isaiah Armwood posted his second consecutive double-double, and seventh of the season, with 14 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. McDonald finished with 10 points, including six in the final 6:48. Kromah also scored 10 and added five rebounds and game-high three steals, while freshman Patricio Garino totaled nine points and seven rebounds.
GW had its second-worst shooting effort of the season at 27.9 percent (17-61), but managed to stay close by holding Butler under 40 percent (38.2 percent) for just the fourth time this season.
Thanks to intense full-court pressure that forced a bevy of late turnovers, the Colonials held the Bulldogs without a field goal for the final 7:34, turning a 15-point deficit at 53-38 into a one-point game in the final minute. BU finished with 19 turnovers, its second-highest total of the season.
The matchup featured the two best rebounding teams in the A-10. GW ended up losing the battle of the boards, 46-41, but used a 13-6 rebounding edge during the late rally to close the gap.
Rotnei Clarke led Butler with 14 points, four assists and three steals. Roosevelt Jones finished with 12 points after scoring 10 in the first half, and Dunham added 10.
At halftime, GW Athletics celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the men's basketball program's run to the 1993 NCAA Sweet 16, with former players Sonni Holland, Antoine Hart, Daryl Collette and Adama Kah in attendance.
GW will have a week off before taking its three-game road win streak to VCU on Saturday, Feb. 16, for the first meeting between the programs as A-10 members. The game will be televised on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, and broadcast live on FederalNewsRadio.com, RaiseHigh.tv and 1500/820 AM.