Men's Basketball Dispatches UCF, 74-59
Jordan Roland pours in a career-high 27 on 5-of-9 shooting from 3-point
WASHINGTON -- Led by a career-high 27 points from Jordan Roland - a season high output for any Colonial in the scoring column - GW men's basketball easily dispatched the UCF Knights, 74-59, on Thursday night at the Charles E. Center. GW improved to 8-4 with the win while handing UCF (7-3) just its third loss of the season.
Roland stole the show on a night when the curiosity entering the game surrounded 7-foot-6 UCF sophomore Tacko Fall. GW's sophomore guard sunk 9-of-13 shots, including 5-of-9 from long range, in his career best showing. Twenty-two of Roland's 27 came in the second half when he hit 4-of-5 threes. As a team the Colonials canned 12 triples on 40 percent shooting from deep.
"I don't think anything has changed, we just found our rhythm," Cavanaugh said of GW winning five of its last six. "We started to hit some shots; we've stayed the course. I mean, losing Yuta [Watanabe] is huge. Guys like Jordan Roland and Matt [Hart] have stepped up."
Cavanaugh joined Roland in double-figures in scoring with his 19 points for the Colonials' cause, on the strength of a 6-of-13 shooting performance that featured two threes on four attempts from behind the arc. Cavanaugh also grabbed six boards and was one of four GW student-athletes with three assists, as the team enjoyed a 15:6 assist to turnover ratio.
UCF entered the game having limited opponents to an average of 55.3 points per game with the country's leading field goal percentage defense that held previous opponents to a .311 clip from the floor. The Colonials met that with their 74-point night, the most the Knights have allowed this season, while shooting .424 from the field in the game, but at a .542 rate (13-of-24) in the second half when GW's lead swelled to 25 at its largest.
Before Roland got hot in the second half, a balanced and ball-controlling GW offense got the Colonials out to a 30-22 halftime lead. Led by Arnaldo Toro's seven first half points, GW got five apiece from Cavanaugh, Smith, Roland and Sina - along with a Matt Hart three - in the opening stanza, while turning over the ball just once. The Colonials were also big on the boards before halftime, as seven offensive rebounds against UCF's one gave GW a 10-0 shutout in second chance points before the intermission.
Fall finished with 16 points, seven rebounds and four blocks for the visitors, who minus Fall's 7-of-10 shooting performance from point blank range, were held to 14-of-43 (.326) shooting. Matt Williams was the other Knight in double figures with 11, but those points came on 15 shots.
GW's next game is its final non-conference game of the regular season, Dec. 22 at Miami at 7 p.m., before the Colonials open A-10 play at Saint Joseph's on Dec. 30 on CSN+ at 7.
"Having a young team is both a gift and a curse," interim head coach Maurice Joseph said of where the team is with just one game left before conference play. "You have to suffer through some growing pains at times, but then the ceiling is so unbelievably high to get better. If we focus and key in on the things we talk about on a daily basis, that we see in film, and that we stress on a daily basis, I think we can get so much better."
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