Dreadfully Slow Start Dooms GW in Loss to St. Joseph’s

Jeff Pawling
Men’s Basketball Writer

PHILADELPHIA – The Colonials found themselves in an extremely deep hole right out of the gate on Saturday night at the Hagen Arena, a hole they valiantly tried to dig themselves out of but ultimately fell short in doing, falling to the St. Joseph’s Hawks 71-59.

GW found themselves trailing 20-2 just 5:03 into the game as a result of an opening stretch from the Hawks that saw them beating the Colonials to the punch in virtually all facets of the game. St. Joe’s would expand their lead to the largest of the night, a 19 point advantage with 12:20 remaining in the first half before GW would begin to chip away.

The comeback effort was spurred on, in large part, by a defensive adjustment that saw them go from a man-to-man defense to a 1-3-1 zone. The zone was able to force the Hawks into taking more contested jumpers and, while the zone left the Colonials slightly vulnerable in the rebounding department, it was a risk coach Mike Lonergan had to take to get his team back into the game. The adjustment helped GW trim the St. Joseph’s lead to eight with 49 seconds left in the half before a Langston Galloway three allowed the Hawks to take a 40-29 lead into halftime.

The second half saw the Colonials take big steps forward to put the Hawks on their heels headed to the finish only to see GW allow a huge, momentum-swinging play that would take them right out of it. The biggest of these plays came down the stretch in the second half when, following a Kevin Larsen three-point play that trimmed the deficit to seven, the Colonials got a crucial defensive stop and had possession with a chance to cut the Hawks’ lead to less than five. But a sloppy offensive possession resulted in an Isaiah Armwood turnover that led to a crucial Langston Galloway three-pointer, extending the St. Joseph’s lead back to 10 with 5:09 to play and served as the dagger in the hearts of the Colonials.

The aforementioned Langston Galloway was a huge thorn in the sides of the Colonials, scoring 26 points on 10-17 shooting, including 6-9 from beyond the arc, to go along with two rebounds and four steals in 38 minutes of action. Fellow guard Carl Jones also put together a nice performance, scoring 15 points and grabbing five rebounds for St. Joseph’s (15-10, 6-6 Atlantic 10), who moved into a tie for ninth place with GW and Richmond as a result of the victory.

Scoring-wise, GW was led by Isaiah Armwood, who had 14 points and five rebounds. Kevin Larsen also had a solid night in the middle with nine points and six rebounds. However, the effort of both Patricio Garino and Lasan Kromah was really the catalyst for GW’s attempted comeback. Garino finished with a modest stat line of 10 points, five rebounds, and two steals, but was extremely active on both ends of the floor the entire night cutting off passing lanes and forcing the Hawks to earn their drives inside. Kromah finished with 13 points on 6-10 shooting, hitting some key mid-range jumpers to cut the deficit in size.

But despite the valiant effort that the team gave to get back into the game, another extremely slow start that saw them look unready to play from the opening tip cost them a key conference matchup to a team right on their heels in the standings. Slow starts have plagued GW over their last four games with the exception of their matchup at VCU last Saturday, which saw them jump out to an early lead only to result, ironically, in their worst loss of the four-game stretch. There is no dispute that the Colonials are a second half team that can make opponents pay for giving there all to finish them off, but at a certain point, this team has to figure out that they cannot continue starting slow and expect to win many games in this conference. For a team employing the slogan “No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn,” it is interesting that they have started their recent stretch of games like a team asleep at the wheel. But they must remedy the trend or, make no mistake, there will be no trip to Brooklyn come March.

GW (12-13, 6-6 Atlantic 10) now prepares for another crucial Atlantic 10 showdown, this time with conference rival Richmond (16-11, 6-6 Atlantic 10) on Wednesday night at the Robins Center. Coverage starts at 6:45 with tipoff at 7 p.m. on WRGW Sports-Colonials Radio Central at our alternate feed on wrgwsports.com.

About Jeff Pawling

Co-Assistant Sports Director, News & Social Media, WRGW District Radio

Posted on February 24, 2013, in Campus, GW Basketball, Men's Basketball and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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