Men's Basketball Withstands Saint Louis to Advance to A-10 Quarterfinals
Colonials now face Richmond Friday at 8:30 p.m. on NBCSN
PITTSBURGH -- In college basketball, what is so cliche come March is also so true.
Survive and advance.
That's exactly what the GW men's basketball team did on Thursday night in Pittsburgh in a 53-46 win against Saint Louis. The Colonials survived a 13-point first half to advance to Friday night's A-10 Quarterfinals where GW will take on Richmond at 8:30pm.
The sixth-seeded Colonials finished regular season play as the conference's most accurate three-point shooting team but that marksmanship arrived late to PPG Paints Arena in this second round matchup. GW was errant on all eight first half three-point tries and fell behind by 12 at the half. Fortunately the Colonials' defense kept the game within reach until the shots started to fall.
Still trailing by 12, 35-23, close to the midway point in the second stanza, sophomore Jordan Roland ignited a closing surge that saw GW outscore the Bilikens 30-11 in the closing 11:07 of play. Roland buried threes on back-to-back possessions to get it started as he scored 10 straight GW points over a stretch of three-and-a-half minutes, while Saint Louis had three as a team in the same time frame, to pull the Colonials within five at 38-33 with 7:39 to go. A three ball from Jaren Sina and subsequent breakaway lay-in from Matt Hart tied the game at 38-38 for the first time since it was 0-0.
Jair Bolden gave GW its first lead of the game at 45-43 at the 2:00 minute mark, and though a Jalen Johnson triple briefly gave the lead back to the Bilikens, Saint Louis wouldn't score again. Bolden answered with a jumper, and then the Colonials knocked down four straight free throws before punctuating the victory with a Yuta Watanabe breakaway dunk to advance for another shot at the Spiders.
Watanabe led all scorers with 18 points on 8-of-17 shooting, while Roland's 10 came on a 4-of-6 effort in 19 total minutes. Tyler Cavanaugh had a game high 16 rebounds for GW, while Jaren Sina's five assists without a miscue earned game high honors.
The Colonials forced twice as many turnovers as they committed and parlayed Saint Louis' 16 errors into a 16-3 edge in points off turnovers. GW also enjoyed a 12-0 cushion on the break.
For Saint Louis, Johnson finished with 16 while Mike Crawford had 15, but the pair accounted for 13 of their squad's 18 field goals. The balance of the Bilikens connected on just 5-of-27 field goal tries.
Now GW gets another crack at third-seeded Richmond which has previously swept the home-and-home series with the Colonials this season. Tip time on Friday is approximately 8:30pm on NBCSN as the nightcap of four Quarterfinal matchups.
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