Key Defensive Plays Seal a Nailbiting Win for GW at James Madison
In what will be likely remembered as one of the closest games the Colonials have played in awhile, the Colonials were able to eke out a narrow, 54-53 victory against the Dukes of James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia on Wednesday night.
The game, which was broadcast nationally on NBC Sports Network, started slowly for GW, who found themselves down 22-14 with 3:36 left in the first half. There were frequent turnovers (16 total for GW in the game) and the Colonials were not converting on routine layups. However, the defense was able to hold up well enough in the first half to keep the Colonials within striking distance.
The turning point came at the tail end of the second half, when GW, led by Lasan Kromah, Joe McDonald, and Kevin Larsen, went on a 10-2 run to head into halftime tied at 24.
GW’s spurt of momentum at the end of the first half may not have fazed the Dukes as much as they would have liked it to, but it was enough that GW was able to match JMU basket for basket throughout the second half. Before today’s game, GW had never gone into halftime tied. There were not many fouls, and the defense managed to solidify and never let the Dukes jump out to any higher than a four point lead.
The offense, led by McDonald, jumped out to a few leads, a few of which they were able to hold for a considerable amount of time. Although Andrei Nation (19 pts.) of the Dukes got the second half started with a thunderous dunk, the rest of the game was a back and forth war of attrition, with neither team able to capitalize on the other’s mistakes. In the dying seconds of the game, key defensive plays by Isaiah Armwood, who blocked a potential game-tying shot by the Dukes’ Aloune Diouf with 7.2 seconds left, and Patricio Garino, who intercepted a JMU inbound pass 3.6 seconds left, helped GW preserve a narrow two point lead and a pair of Garino free throws sealed the win for the Colonials.
GW improves to 3-3 with the win, while JMU falls to 1-5. GW will now head back to Washington to prepare for their matchup with Manhattan in the annual BB&T Classic at the Verizon Center on Sunday. Tipoff is at 12:15 and you can hear all the action on WRGW-Colonials Radio Central at gwradio.com.