Colonials Fail to Overcome Big 1st Half Deficit in Loss at Xavier
Men’s Basketball Writer
CINCINNATI, Ohio – The Colonials entered their matchup with the Xavier Musketeers on Saturday afternoon hoping to follow up their impressive performance on Wednesday with a statement win in one of the most hostile places to play in the Atlantic 10. However, the bounces did not go GW’s way as the Colonials dropped the contest 71-56 to Xavier at the Cintas Center.
The game can best be described as a tale of two halves for GW. The first half was a clinic in missed opportunities for the Colonials, as they shot 33 percent from the field as a team while Xavier, spurred on by the sharpshooting of guards Semaj Christon and Brad Redford, finished the half with a 57 percent shooting percentage. In addition, the Colonials were thoroughly dominated on the glass, losing the team rebounding battle 22-6 in the first half. Forwards Isaiah Armwood and Kevin Larsen were utterly dominated inside by the Musketeers’ tandem of Travis Taylor and Jeff Robinson, resulting in the rebounding discrepancy. All of this contributed to a 15-point deficit for the Colonials at halftime.
However, in the second half, GW seemed to be a different team, getting back to the style of play that made them successful thus far. Installing a strategy that refocused their efforts on controlling the glass and getting high percentage shots inside, the Colonials scored the first four points of the half and ultimately cut the lead to six with 10 minutes to play. Unfortunately for GW, that would be the closest the Colonials would get to Xavier in the half, as GW consistently botched chances to cut the deficit even further while the Musketeers seemed to hit a big shot every time they needed one, allowing Xavier to run away with a 15-point win.
Christon and Redford hit the biggest shots for Xavier down the stretch and combined for 42 of the Musketeers’ 71 points in the game. Christon finished with 21 points on 9-13 shooting to go along with seven assists while Redford was amazing from beyond the arc, scoring 21 points of his own on 7-8 shooting from three. Jeff Robinson was the only other Xavier player in double figures, scoring 14 points on 6-9 from the field to go along with six rebounds.
Meanwhile, the Colonials were led by senior guard Lasan Kromah, who had another strong effort off the bench with 12 points, four rebounds, and two assists in 24 minutes. Freshman Patricio Garino was the next highest scorer for GW, finishing with nine points despite going a disappointing 3-14 from the field. Joe McDonald finished with a solid line, posting eight points, three rebounds, and four assists in 28 minutes.
But the truth is the Colonials downfall in this one can be directly attributed to the deep hole GW dug for themselves in the first half, where they were dominated in virtually all facets of the game. Despite a stronger second half, fans cannot expect a team to dig themselves out of a 15-point hole, especially on the road and especially in a conference as tough as this year’s Atlantic 10. Furthermore, Xavier’s first half game plan that effectively neutralized Armwood and Larsen for most of the game sets a dangerous precedent that other teams preparing for GW can look to going forward. If opposing teams can effectively take Armwood and Larsen out of the game, the Colonials will have a tough time winning games unless the backcourt play becomes more consistent. Until the guards can prove to opponents that they need to be accounted for at all times, teams will continue to aim at eliminating Armwood and Larsen from making an impact, a recipe that, for now, will most likely lead to many GW defeats.
The Colonials (7-8, 1-1 A-10) now get set for another tough matchup, this time in the friendly confines of the Charles E. Smith Center, when they welcome the Temple Owls to Foggy Bottom on Wednesday night. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. and you can listen to all the action on WRGW-Colonials Radio Central.