Men's Basketball Gets Needed Win at Duquesne, 77-70
Colonials hit 12-of-26 threes, 19-of-22 free throws
PITTSBURGH, Pa. -- Road wins don't come easy in late February in conference play, and they're not always pretty. That fact didn't matter to the GW Colonials when they invaded Duquesne on Sunday afternoon and secured a 77-70 win.
GW gutted out the victory and swept Duquesne on the season by locking down on defense late, knocking down free throws and finding its range from three-point territory. Despite connecting at .377 clip from the field (23-of-61), 12 of the Colonials' makes came from behind the arc as the visitors tickled the twine at the Dukes' A.J. Palumbo Center to the tune of a .462 shooting percentage from deep (12-of-26), adding to the proficiency that saw GW enter the contest as the A-10's second-leading three-point shooting team (.386). Seven different Colonials played a part in the three-point act. Combined with a 20-11 edge in second chance points, and a defense that held Duquesne to .417 from the floor, the Colonials battled for the win.
"It's never easy to get road wins in this conference, but I'm really happy with the way we closed this game out," said interim head coach Maurice Joseph. "We're two weeks away from March so every game is vital for seeding. This win does a lot for our confidence as a young team, having to get stops, having to make free throws in a hostile environment down the stretch, and hopefully that will carry over to the last few games."
While just missing its goal to hold the opposition below 40 percent shooting after doing so to both VCU and St. Bonaventure last week, GW was able to achieve its initiative in the free throw battle behind the marksmanship of Tyler Cavanaugh. Spurred by the grad student's 13-of-14 performance at the stripe, the Colonials buried 19-of-22 (.864) free throws to make more than the efficient Dukes attempted (16-of-17, .941).
Cavanaugh led the way in the scoring column for GW with 19 points, but the balanced Colonials saw four hit double figures in scoring. In his ninth start of the season at the point, freshman Jair Bolden reached double figures in scoring for the fifth time with 11, while also pacing the game with five assists against nary a turnover. Yuta Watanabe (14) and Patrick Steeves (11) also hit double digits for GW.
Duquesne was led by 22 points from Mike Lewis II on 9-of-14 shooting, but he was the only Duke able to find any consistency on offense in the contest as his teammates were 14-of-46 (.348) from the field without him.
Having entered the game ranked second in the conference in rebounding margin (+5.5), the Colonials were able to outdo the opposition again on the boards, but not quite by as big as their average margin. Sill, in GW's 37-34 rebounding edge was a 16-12 advantage on the offensive glass that paved the way for the GW dominance in second chance conversions.
While the lead changed hands five times and the game was tied eight times for a total of 4:34 of game action, GW was largely in control throughout leading for 28:21 of the game's 40 minutes.
GW (14-13, 6-8 A-10) now looks to get within a game of .500 in conference play on Thursday night at home against UMass at 7pm. Massachusetts is currently 3-11 in A-10 play and 13-14 overall. The Colonials are tied for ninth in the conference with Fordham with four A-10 games to play, one game behind eighth place Davidson. Six teams have between six and eight wins in A-10 action, as those teams battle for positioning between the #5 and #10 seeds heading into the A-10 Championship in Pittsburgh, March 8-12.
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