GW Secures Fourth Conference Win with Dominating Performance over Charlotte
Men’s Basketball Writer
WASHINGTON – The Colonials entered their matchup Saturday fresh off back-to-back road wins and looking for a statement win against a surprisingly good Charlotte team that had only lost three times this season. GW certainly got their statement win and more, throttling the 49ers in the second half en route to an 82-54 victory at the Charles E. Smith Center.
GW was paced by a very strong performance from freshman Patricio Garino, who scored 16 points on a perfect 6-6 from the field, including 2-2 from beyond the arc. He also made his presence known on the defensive end of the floor, securing four steals. The Colonials got significant contributions from their bench, including 12 points each from seniors Lasan Kromah and Bryan Bynes. Senior Dwayne Smith also added nine points off the bench to go along with four rebounds. The starters were good as well, with Isaiah Armwood posting another strong effort and finishing with nine points and eight rebounds. Freshmen guards Joe McDonald and Kethan Savage combined for 14 points and nine rebounds between the two of them, spearheading strong backcourt play for GW.
Charlotte was led in scoring by guard DeMario Mayfield, who finished with 17 points and eight rebounds and turned one of the few strong performances for an otherwise overmatched 49ers team. Fellow guard Pierria Henry added 11 points on 5-13 shooting in the loss to go along with four assists while Charlotte’s best player statistically, Chris Braswell, managed to finish with 11 points, most of that coming from the free throw line where he was 9-10.
The 49ers’ only lead came with 17:50 left in the first half when Charlotte scored the game’s first two points. From then on, it was seemingly all GW, starting with an 11-2 run over a span of five minutes to put the Colonials up 20-7 with ten minutes left in the first half. Charlotte would stay within ten points for the rest of the half, entering halftime down 35-27.
The theme of the second half really centered on the officiating. Whereas in the first half, the crew of J.B. Caldwell, Tim Comer, and Haywood Bostic let more contact near the basket go without a whistle, in the second half, the officials blew a whistle at virtually every semblance of contact. 36 of the 74 total points scored in the second half were recorded on free throws and both teams were in the double bonus by the 10 minute mark of the half. This extremely tight officiating served as a detriment on the pace and style of play in the second half and made for an excruciatingly long half time-wise. However, the Colonials, carrying an eight-point advantage into the half, used the officiating to their advantage, converting on 24 of their 29 free throw attempts in the second half, thereby thwarting any opportunity Charlotte had at chipping away at the Colonials’ lead. GW went on an 18-4 run over the last seven minutes, putting the game out of reach for Charlotte, who constantly came away empty handed on offense during the stretch.
The last seven minutes of today’s game were, perhaps, the most important seven minute stretch of the season thus far for the Colonials. With seven minutes left and GW holding a 64-50 lead, Charlotte was starting to make things uncomfortable, coming up with good shots that they simply were not hitting. However, the thought was that once they start hitting them, this game could get a whole lot more interesting. Yet, GW hit the gas and pulled away from Charlotte, taking complete control of the game at that point and sent the 49ers back to North Carolina with their fourth loss of the season. Up until today, the Colonials had practiced a dangerous habit of letting teams back into the game rather than putting them away. Today was the complete opposite, representing an encouraging sign for Colonials fans. The last three games, as a whole, have been extremely important not just in the Atlantic 10 standings, but also in the impression they have been giving their fans. After two close, hard fought wins and today’s runaway victory, GW now has proven that they can both win the close game down to the wire and also put away an opponent when the opportunity presents itself. These trends will only continue to do wonders for them as they play deeper into their Atlantic 10 schedule.
The Colonials (10-9, 4-2 Atlantic 10) now have a week off before they welcome La Salle into the Charles E. Smith Center on February 2nd. Tipoff is at 2 p.m. and you can listen to all the action on WRGW Sports-Colonials Radio Central.