WASHINGTON - Playing its 500th all-time game in the Charles E. Smith Center, George Washington men's basketball fought off pesky Fordham for a 68-60 victory in Atlantic 10 action on Wednesday night.
The victory was GW's 346th all-time (346-154) in the facility it has called home since 1975, and was also the 399th win of head coach Mike Lonergan's 20-year coaching career (399-189). He'll go for career win No. 400 on Saturday when GW (12-12, 6-5 A-10) visits Saint Joseph's (14-10, 5-6 A-10).
GW also improved to 20-6 overall and 10-0 all-time at home against Fordham, including nine victories at Smith Center dating back to January 1997.
Freshman forward Kevin Larsen led all scorers and set a new career-high with 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting, while guard Lasan Kromah chipped in 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting and four steals in 29 minutes off the bench. Forward Isaiah Armwood added eight points and a game-high 12 rebounds to help the Colonials to a 39-35 rebounding advantage. Freshman Patricio Garino finished with nine points and four steals, and senior Dwayne Smith tallied eight points off the bench.
GW forced Fordham (6-21, 2-10 A-10) into 22 turnovers with a season-high 17 steals, which it turned into a season-best 27 points off turnovers. The Colonials also held large advantages in points in the paint (44-20), second-chance points (20-7) and bench points (28-11).
Larsen netted 10 of his 15 and the Colonials shot nearly 56 percent (15-27) in the first half, but managed only a 36-32 halftime advantage as Branden Frazier scored 11 of his 13 and the Rams shot 48 percent (12-25) over the opening 20 minutes.
Fordham pulled within 40-37 on a Mandell Thomas three-pointer with 17:09 to play, but GW allowed only three field goals over the next 14:32 and built its largest lead at 60-47 following a Larsen foul shot that set his new career-high with 5:14 remaining. The Colonials held the Rams to 28.6 percent shooting in the second half and 37.7 percent for the contest.
The Colonials failed to close out the game at the foul line though, going just 17-of-37 at the stripe to leave the door open for the Rams. Fordham used a 9-2 run in a span of 37 seconds to climb within 66-60 with a minute to play, but GW added two late free throws and forced three misses to clinch their sixth A-10 victory.
Fordham was led by Chris Gaston's 14 points, followed by Frazier's 13, 12 from Travion Leonard and 10 from Thomas. It marked the Rams' seventh consecutive loss overall and 35th straight A-10 road loss.
GW, which is currently in a three-way tie for sixth place in the A-10 standings with Charlotte and Temple, will face Saint Joseph's at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday. That game will be televised on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic Plus and Comcast SportsNet Philly, and can be heard on FederalNewsRadio.com, RaiseHigh.tv and 1500/820 AM.
Philadelphia-area fans, alumni and friends can join a GW Athletics reception at SJU's Mandeville Hall dining room beginning at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday prior to tip-off against the Hawks. Click here for details.