Men's Basketball Staves Off Morgan State, 73-66
Watanabe scores a career-high 26 points, surpasses 1,000 for his career
WASHINGTON -- Behind a career-high 26 points from Japanese sensation Yuta Watanabe on International Night at the Smith Center, the George Washington men's basketball team pulled to within a game of .500 in a 73-66 victory against the Bears of Morgan State on Wednesday night.
Watanabe's 26 came on an efficient 16 shots from the field, including a 3-of-7 effort from three-point range. The senior star also had a team-high tying seven rebounds, with game-highs of three blocks and five steals on the defensive end. His first point of the game marked the 1,000th of his career.
GW took a while to get going in the contest and stared down a five-point deficit at the half. Morgan State extended to a double-digit margin early in the second before the Colonials came storming back. The second half saw GW connect on 6-of-12 three-pointers and 15-of-31 shots from the floor overall to take the lead and pull away.
Jair Bolden also made critical buckets for the home squad, including 3-of-6 shooting from deep, en route to his 13 points, all of which came in the second half. Arnaldo Toro was a third Colonial in double-figures in scoring with 12 to go with team-high tying marks of seven boards and four assists, while freshman Justin Mazzulla made the most of his 15 minutes off the bench with five points, six rebounds and four dimes. By the 3:27 mark of the second half, GW had completed a 20-point swing in the stanza, going from down 10 to up 10 in just over 15:00 minutes of game time.
Morgan State was led in defeat by Martez Cameron who had team-highs of 19 points and four assists, though he was the only Bear to accumulate more than a single assist. Phillip Carr registered 17 points and a game-high 11 rebounds for the Bears, while Stanley Davis tossed in 15.
Much of GW's win can be credited to more effective ball handling and distribution than the opposition, as the Colonials maintained a positive assist-to-turnover (15:13) while limiting Morgan State to just seven assists against 14 miscues. And while the Colonials only finished with a 32-31 advantage on the boards, they enjoyed a 21-12 margin in the second half which included nine offensive rebounds that led to 10 second-chance points. The first-ranked team in the A-10 in blocks also counted eight swats on the evening.
With GW's tour of the MEAC now complete with three wins in three tries against Howard, Hampton and Morgan State, the Colonials now turn their attention to the second of three former A-10 rivals on the schedule this season. GW has a chance to even its record on Sunday in the BB&T Classic at Capital One Arena at 2:30pm against Temple, with a road trip to another former conference mate in Penn State on the horizon. Between the clashes against old conference brethren, GW's next home game is sandwiched in with Princeton coming to Foggy Bottom on December 6th at 7:00pm.
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