GW Holds Off Late UMass Rally to Secure Road Win
Men’s Basketball Writer
AMHERST, Mass. – The Colonials came into their matchup with Massachusetts on Saturday afternoon desperately looking to bounce back from a disheartening loss in which they blew a double-digit halftime lead on their home floor. Unfortunately for the Minutemen, they were on the receiving end of a spirited GW effort that ruined Marcus Camby Day in Amherst and saw the Colonials ride a rally stretching from the end of the first half into the early portions of the second half en route to a 79-76 win at the Mullins Center.
GW was led by freshman point guard Joe McDonald, who had one of the more impressive performances of his young Colonial career, posting a double-double with 16 points and 10 assists. Seniors Dwayne Smith and Lasan Kromah were right behind McDonald, posting 15 and 14 points respectively to pace the Colonials while freshman Patricio Garino continued his high volume shooting, albeit with more success, scoring 12 points on 6-10 shooting.
Chaz Williams did his best to bring UMass back, playing all 40 minutes of the game and scoring 18 points despite going just 5-17 from the field. Cady Lalanne added 15 points to go along with seven rebounds while Raphiael Putney posted a line of 14 points and eight rebounds. Freddie Riley also finished in double figures for the Minutemen, scoring 12 points on 4-10 shooting.
The Colonials got off to a sluggish start in the first half, falling behind by as many as six points in the first nine minutes of the game. However, the tide quickly turned in GW’s favor after that point, as the Colonials reeled off a 19-6 run over the next six minutes to pull ahead and ultimately take a 40-33 lead into halftime.
In the second half, the Colonials continued their hot shooting, starting off on a 12-3 run to pull ahead by 16 points, their biggest lead of the contest, with 14:59 to play. After that, the Minutemen would chip away at GW’s lead, including a stretch of three minutes from the nine minute mark to the six minute mark in which UMass reeled off a 10-1 run to cut the Colonials’ lead to three. Yet, GW would keep UMass at bay until the last ten seconds of the game when, with UMass down three, a costly foul by Lasan Kromah on Freddie Riley beyond the arc gave the Minutemen the chance to tie the game with three seconds left, However, Riley missed the first of his three free throws, sealing the win for GW.
All in all, it was a nice bounce back effort for the Colonials, especially on the heels of their heartbreaking loss at home to Temple on Wednesday night. GW showed a lot of resilience in their performance today and, furthermore, showed poise amidst a late onslaught from their opponents. The only real negative to take away from the Colonials’ performance on Saturday is the fact that they nearly blew a double-digit lead for the second time in as many games. At any level, it is difficult to win games on the road so when GW has such a large lead on the road, they need to get better at closing out their given opponent earlier in the contest. The Colonials may have survived a late scare today, but as we have seen already in this young Atlantic 10 season, GW will not be as lucky against top tier opponents in the conference if their play drops off once they build up a double-digit lead.
The Colonials (8-9, 2-2 Atlantic 10) will now prepare to finish up their two-game New England road trip against Rhode Island in Kingston on Wednesday night. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. and you can listen to all the action on WRGW Sports-Colonials Radio Central.