GW’s Comeback Effort Falls Short in Loss at Bradley
It was a tale of two halves for the George Washington Colonials as they were unable to overcome a 17-point deficit and fell short to the Bradley Braves 72-68 at the Carver Arena in Peoria, Illinois on Tuesday night.
The game, which was a rematch of last year’s contest that Bradley won 67-66, featured a much improved Bradley team who was 5-2 heading into this game and had just come off an eight-point loss at home to third-ranked Michigan. Right from the beginning, the Braves attacked the paint and scored six of their first eight points inside the key, led by Jordan Prosser who went 6-7 from the field and scored 12 of his 17 points in the first half. The Colonials fought to keep it close throughout the first half and came within two on a Nemanja Mikic three pointer at 11:40. This was the closest the two teams came all half, as the turnovers piled up for GW and the Braves went on a 23-9 run, capping off the half with a Shayok Shayok dunk to go into the locker room up 38-21.
The Colonials were able to keep pace with the Braves to start the second half. GW’s defense was much more aggressive in the second half . Bradley scored its first eight points in the paint to start the half but Geoerge Washington outscored them 10-8 during that stretch. The Colonials started the half off hot hitting their first four shots including two threes by Freshman Patrico Garino and Joe McDonald. Head Coach Mike Lonergan began to mix the defense up and on a majority of the possessions had the Colonials play a 1-3-1 zone. In previous games we have seen the zone be used to great effect, especially in the Hofstra game when the Colonials held the opposition to 31.6 percent shooting from the field. Tonight was more of the same as the Colonials used to zone to help fuel a late comeback.
The Colonials’ excellent play on both ends of the court continued as the half went on. Bradley was thought to have the game sewn up with four minutes to play and up by 11 points. However, the Colonials mounted a furious comeback to close the game on a 14-7 run. Garino scored 11 of his 24 points in the last four minutes which included a key dunk to cut the game down to eight with three minutes remaining. Garino, however, went 2-4 from the free throw line missing a key free throw that would have cut the game to four with two minutes remaining and ultimately, GW’s comeback effort fell short.
The Colonials looked like the much better team in the second half, as the offense looked a lot more aggressive getting to the line 16 times in the second half compared to just seven attempts in the first half. Garino finished with a career-high 24 points, 18 of which were scored in the second half, and Isaiah Armwood’s excellent play continued with his third double-double of the season, a 12 point, 12 rebound effort. Yet, the Colonials’ 23 turnovers on the night came back to haunt them and continue to be a major problem for GW. If they are going to compete at a high level going forward, Mike Lonergan is going to have to find a way to cut them down.
With the loss, GW falls to an even 4-4 on the season while Bradley improves to 6-2. Up next for the Colonials is Kansas State on Saturday afternoon at the Charles E. Smith Center in the annual “Buff Out” game. Tip-off is at 2:30 and you can listen to all the action on the sports stream at wrgwsports.com.