Men's Basketball Hangs Tough with #6 Miami
Colonials fall 59-50 as the Hurricanes improve to 9-0
WASHINGTON -- Hosting undefeated and sixth-ranked Miami at the Charles E. Smith Center in a Saturday matinee, the George Washington men's basketball team battled but ultimately fell 59-50 as the Hurricanes improved to 9-0 on the season.
As has been custom for GW this season, the never-say-die Colonials refused to go away even after falling behind by as many as 21 in the first half. Miami opened on a 13-2 spurt and held a 32-11 advantage with 2:52 to play before the intermission, only to see GW hold a 39-27 advantage for the last 22:52 of the contest.
The Hurricanes came to DC having outscored their opposition by 22.1 ppg this season and averaging more than 79 points, until GW met the challenge and held the Canes to 20 points below their average and their second-lowest point total of the season (57 vs. La Salle). Miami's quick start was keyed by a .385 three-point shooting clip in the first half (5-of-13) before GW shut down the visitors' long range game entirely in the second half (0-8) to begin to claw back.
Jair Bolden had 11 of his team-high 13 points in the second half, while GW plucked 10 of its 17 offensive rebounds off the glass in the closing 20 minutes to outscore Miami 13-4 in second chance points after halftime. Arnaldo Toro keyed the Colonials' rebounding effort with a game- and career-high 13 rebounds, four of which came on the offensive end, as GW commanded a 44-39 edge in rebounds. Yuta Watanabe grabbed eight boards in a near double-double with nine points, along with two assists and two blocks for GW, while freshman Terry Nolan Jr. continued to be at his best when the lights are brightest. Unfazed by the ACC competition, similar to his pair of career-high 18 point outings against Florida State and Xavier, Nolan Jr. had 10 points, six rebounds and added four more swipes to his team-high steals total.
Ultimately Miami's Dewan Huell put his team on his back in his 15-point, 12-rebound double-double, including nine points in the second half when his team needed him most. Lonnie Walker IV also helped to stamp out the Colonials' furious rally with eight of his 13 in the second. Trailing by just eight with less than 7:00 to play, a pair of would-be Bolden threes rimmed off that could've cut the Miami lead to five for the first time since the game's opening minutes, but it wasn't to be as Miami extended back to 10 with 6:08 to play. Toro answered for GW with a jumper to get back to eight before back-to-back Walker buckets in the paint gave Miami a 49-37 edge with under 4:00 to play that it wouldn't relinquish.
Saturday's game completed a spate of non-conference games that saw the Colonials take on six Top-50 teams (Florida State, Xavier, Kansas State, Temple, Penn State, Miami) in preparation for A-10 play. GW will conclude non-conference action this week at home with New Hampshire on Wednesday night at 7pm followed by Harvard on Saturday, Dec. 23, at noon in a game that can be seen on Facebook Live. A date with Saint Joseph's will mark GW's first foray into A-10 play this season, two weeks from today on Saturday, Dec. 30th at 4pm again at the Smith Center in the final game of a four-game home stand to close out 2017.
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