Men's Basketball Handles Princeton, 71-60
Bolden scores a career-high 25 points to lead the way
WASHINGTON -- A week ago when the George Washington men's basketball team took the floor at home against Morgan State, they were coming off a tough trip to Las Vegas that saw their record drop to 2-4 on the season after losses, albeit hard fought, to power conference foes Xavier and Kansas State. Down but not out and battle-tested against tough competition, something clicked in Nevada.
Fast forward to Wednesday night, and three games over the last eight days yielded a three-game winning streak as the now 5-4 Colonials defeated Princeton, 71-60, at the Charles E. Smith Center. Once again sophomore Jair Bolden was critical in victory in the best three-game stretch of his career. After putting 13 points on Morgan State in the full 40 minutes, Bolden dropped 17 against Temple before exploding for a career-high 25 points on 8-of-15 shooting against the Tigers. The New York City point guard had a baker's dozen by halftime after not missing a shot in two-point territory in the opening 20 minutes.
Despite falling behind by as many as six in the early minutes of the contest, GW pulled ahead to take a 31-28 lead into the locker room at the half. Coming out of the break the Colonials adjusted and got it done on the interior. Eleven offensive rebounds in the second half led to 22 points in the paint in the second stanza and 13 second chance points in the final 20 minutes. The GW reserves also came alive in the second half after a scoreless first to account for 12 points of bench production against Princeton's six, 10 of which came from grad student Bo Zeigler on 5-of-6 shooting from close range.
Along with Bolden and Zeigler, mainstay senior Yuta Watanabe gave the Colonials three double-digit scorers with his 13, while the reigning A-10 Player of the Week also grabbed six boards, hit a pair of threes and swatted a couple of Princeton shots on the defensive end. It was GW's other grad student, Patrick Steeves, who led the effort on the offensive glass all night with six caroms collected off GW misses as part of team-high seven total rebounds, while also pacing the Colonials with three assists.
Despite leaving a few more points than they wanted to at the free throw line, GW dominated the battle at the charity stripe. The home team sunk 16-of-22 freebies (.727) while limiting the opposition's chances for free throws as the Tigers mustered just a 3-for-5 night at the line.
Princeton was led in scoring by Devin Cannady's game-high 23 points in an efficient 9-of-14 shooting effort (3-of-5 3pt. fg), while Myles Stephens tossed in 13. Amir Bell had a game-high four assists but GW turned him over six times as part of 14 turnovers the Colonials forced on the night.
With a record back above .500 for the first time since it was 2-1, GW's schedule doesn't relent. A true road date at Penn State awaits on Saturday at 4pm for a nationally-televised tip-off on the Big Ten Network, before #10 Miami comes to Smith Center on Saturday, December 16th in the first visit of a Top-10 team in the country to the Smith Center since GW knocked off then #6 Virginia on November 16, 2015.
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