Men's Basketball Topples Temple on the Road, 66-63
Cavanaugh hits game-winning three with 8.2 seconds left
PHILADELPHIA -- In its third game in five days and without two critical pieces in junior Yuta Watanabe and grad student Patrick Steeves, GW men's basketball exuded the next-man-up mentality at Temple and escaped with a 66-63 win against its former A-10 foe, who entered the game on a five-game winning streak.
The nationally-televised win also snapped GW's seven-game skid at the hands of Temple and was the first victory in the rivalry, which dates back to 1917, since Feb. 17, 2007. Temple had previously won 25 of 32 games played all-time between the teams in Philadelphia.
Led by Tyler Cavanaugh, it was a different story on Wednesday night, however, as a game after being held under 10 points for the first time as a Colonial, Cavanaugh got a new double-figure streak started with a game-high 20-point effort, including the game-winning three-pointer with 8.2 seconds to play.
Cavanaugh scored 12 of GW's 14 points in the final 10 minutes of play, including a pair of threes and a 6-of-6 performance from the free throw line down the stretch to stave off an Owls' rally that pecked away a 15-point GW second half lead to a tie game in the final minute.
With GW up nine as the game passed the 3:00 mark, Temple's Josh Brown connected on a three to pull the Owls within six. Daniel Dingle then nailed his third three-pointer of the game to pull the Owls within a possession, and on Temple's next trip up the floor canned another deep three to knot the game at 61-61 with 1:35 to play.
From there, Cavanaugh went to work again, with a pair of free throws and his game-winning trifecta sandwiched around a Shizz Alston, Jr. jumper, before the Colonials watched Dingle miss a game-tying three-point try in the final seconds.
GW executed its offense efficiently throughout, setting season highs with 18 assists and a .472 field goal percentage, while its .500 mark from long range (9-18) matched a season high.
"It's a learning process for these guys to understand what's a good versus a great shot," said interim head coach Maurice Joseph. "We took a step forward today and we have to continue to grow in that regard, but overall we did a better job with shot selection."
Jordan Roland threw in a career-high 14 points for the Colonials' cause on 6-of-9 shooting, including 2-of-4 from behind the arc. Freshman Arnaldo Toro also registered a career high number in the scoring column with 12, while his game high nine boards led a GW rebounding effort that outdid the home team 31-22 on the glass. That continues a strong trend for the A-10's leading team in rebounding margin as GW has now out rebounded the opposition in eight of 10 games on the season.
Collin Smith also reached double figures in scoring for GW with 11 as part of a Colonials' starting contingent that accounted for 63 of the team's 66 points in the game. Point guard Jaren Sina tallied six points to go with a team- and season-high six assists. It was Matt Hart who accounted for the three from the bench via a shot from long range, while Cavanaugh regained his shooting stroke with a 3-for-4 effort. The grad student from Syracuse also connected on all seven of his free throw attempts and finished with five boards and four assists.
Dingle paced Temple with 14 points and a game high seven assists, while the GW defense held the Owls' leading scorer, junior forward Obi Enechionyia, to 12. Enechionyia entered the game averaging 19.9 points and 7.9 rebounds while shooting 48 percent from three-point range, but was limited to 12 and seven boards before fouling out.
"It gives us confidence that we can compete with some pretty good teams," said Joseph. "We're still building for the A-10 season and March, and our staff is focused on developing this team and figuring out how we can continue to get better. By no stretch of the imagination are we satisfied."
GW's win brought the team to 6-4 on the year while dropping the Owls to 6-3. As part of Temple's old winning streak, the Owls enjoyed wins against Florida State, West Virginia and at Saint Joseph's. Next up for the Colonials is a local clash with Howard on Saturday at 4 p.m. at the Smith Center.
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