Men's Basketball Survives Test from Fordham, 78-72
Colonials advance to the second round to face Saint Louis, Thursday at 8:30pm
WASHINGTON -- In the First Round of the Atlantic 10 Championship at Capital One Arena in downtown, DC, the George Washington men's basketball team vanquished Fordham for the second time in eight days to advance to Thursday's second round. As the winners of their opening game in the Championship tournament for the fifth-straight year, the 11-seed Colonials will now face sixth-seeded Saint Louis on Thursday night at 8:30pm on NBCSN.
GW got it done on Wednesday night with balanced scoring that saw five hit double figures plus a dominant performance on the glass that outmuscled the Rams, 39-22, including 14-5 on the offensive boards. Sophomore Arnaldo Toro was critical in both efforts with his game-high 15 rebounds (five offensive) in a double-double outing that featured 11 points as well. Grad transfer Bo Zeigler, not wanting to see his career come to an end, was the man amongst men in the second half in a bruising 11 minutes of play when he registered all of his 16 points in the contest, and also corralled five rebounds. In the second half alone, GW doubled-up Fordham in rebounding, 20-10.
The Colonials led by a point at intermission after rallying from a 12-point hole with just over six minutes left in the first half. After GW climbed back, the second half was a relatively even affair as the final margin represented GW's biggest lead of the night in a contest that featured 16 ties and 11 lead changes. Powered by Zeigler, the Colonials' bench did yeoman's work knowing the tight turnaround required for tomorrow's tip time in less than 24 hours. Freshman Maceo Jack also netted a career-high 10 points in 18 minutes in a supporting role to help outdo the Rams' reserves, 26-14.
Sophomore Jair Bolden finished with a game-high 22 points on 8-of-13 shooting (4-of-8 3pt. FG), while Yuta Watanabe finished with 12 points and two blocks after being named A-10 Defensive Player of the Year yesterday. Fordham limited Watanabe to just eight shots after the Japanese superstar torched the Rams for a career-high 31 points on Senior Night last Wednesday.
The Colonials finished .509 from the floor as a unit and shot .520 in the second half while holding Fordham to .444 over the final 20 minutes in the deciding stanza. Fordham was paced by Joseph Chartouny's 18 points and game-high eight assists. GW freshman Justin Mazzulla had a team-high seven dimes in his starting role.
On Thursday night GW will look to avenge a 62-53 loss at Saint Louis less than two weeks ago on Feb. 24th in the teams' only previous meeting this season.
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