Men's Basketball Fights but Falls to #15 Xavier
Freshman Terry Nolan Jr. scored a team-high 18 points in an 83-64 loss
LAS VEGAS -- In a game that was much closer than the final score would indicate, the George Washington Colonials gave #15 Xavier all it could handle at the Las Vegas Invitational in Nevada. GW went toe-to-toe with the Musketeers, who came into the game undefeated on the season and having last lost in last year's Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.
At the under-8-minute media timeout of the second half, GW was within six of the heavily favored Xavier squad, sparked by another huge scoring outing from freshman Terry Nolan Jr. After dropping 18 points at Florida State earlier this season, Nolan Jr. once again stared down another major conference foe and went for a team-high 18 on 7-of-9 shooting on Thanksgiving. Ultimately the deeper Musketeers, who went 10 men deep in the contest, pulled away for the 83-64 win.
GW battled throughout and despite falling into a quick 7-0 hole, the Colonials were not fazed. Jair Bolden banged two of his four three-pointers in the game early in the first half on back-to-back possessions to let Xavier know that it was in for a fight. In a close first half the Colonials bent but didn't break to keep within striking distance at 43-36 at the intermission.
The Musketeers proved to pack too much firepower in the second half and extended to a 14-point advantage near the midway point of the closing stanza. The Colonials would answer though with an 8-0 spurt to draw within 62-56. From there, Xavier's leading gun Trevon Bluiett displayed his All-American potential and scored seven points in a quick spurt to answer back and send his team into the under 4:00 timeout having regained its double-digit edge.
The senior Bluiett would go on to finish with a game-high 20, narrowly outdoing his less-heralded but equal-to-the-task first-year counterpart in Nolan Jr. Yuta Watanabe chipped in 16 points for the Colonials with three blocks on the other end, while Bolden also finished with 16. Arnaldo Toro registered seven points and seven rebounds for GW, but Xavier's depth yielded the ultimate advantage. Though the Musketeers had just one other starter, Quentin Goodin who finished with 16, score in double figures, the higher-ranked team's bench outdid GW's 27-5.
In one of the tougher out-of-conference schedules in the country, with match-ups against Florida State and Xavier now in the rear view, GW will now see the loser of tonight's other Las Vegas Invitational match-up at Orleans Arena between Kansas State and Arizona State Friday at 8pm ET again on FS1. Temple and Miami also lurk next month for the young Colonials.
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