Men’s Basketball Writer
PHILADELPHIA – The George Washington Colonials fell to the La Salle Explorers amidst a barrage of three-pointers for the second time this season, this time losing 84-70 at the Tom Gola Arena on Wednesday night.
GW allowed La Salle to hit 11 three-pointers in their first meeting on February 2nd, an 80-71 La Salle win at the Charles E. Smith Center. This time out, they allowed La Salle to convert on 12 of their 22 three-point attempts. This, combined with 16 turnovers and only one made three-pointer of their own sealed the Colonials’ fourth straight loss and seventh in their last nine games.
However, on offense, GW was pretty effective. They shot 55 percent as a team and grabbed 11 more rebounds than La Salle. Isaiah Armwood secured his eighth double-double of the season, leading the team with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Lasan Kromah added 15 points on 7-13 shooting in 23 minutes off the bench while Kethan Savage put together a solid effort with 12 points on 6-9 from the field. Kevin Larsen also had a solid, all-around performance with eight points, five rebounds, and six assists.
Yet, the Colonials were perpetually behind from the 15:36 mark of the first half after beginning the game in a back-and-forth tussle with the Explorers. After grabbing a 10-9 lead, GW would allow a 19-4 run over the next four minutes to put La Salle ahead for good. They surrendered 10 of La Salle’s 12 three-pointers in the first half alone and could not find an answer to stifle the Explorers’ precision from beyond the arc. By halftime, a Tyreek Duren buzzer beater put La Salle ahead by 10 at 47-37.
The Explorers would take further control of the game in the second half, keeping GW at bay and never letting them get closer than 12 at any point. Furthermore, La Salle’s effective, time consuming possessions toward the end of the half thwarted any chance of a late GW comeback.
Ramon Galloway scored 29 points on 11-17 shooting in his final game in front of the home fans at Tom Gola Arena. Tyreek Duren added 19 points while Jerrell Wright had 16 points and seven rebounds for a La Salle squad that shot 61 percent from the field as a team.
The defensive effort from the Colonials is certain to raise a number of red flags from fans as they head into Saturday’s win-or-go-home matchup with Dayton (17-12, 7-8 Atlantic 10) at the Smith Center. GW’s defense, which had been and still is a strength, was porous tonight as they did nothing to deter La Salle from getting any and every shot they wanted throughout the game. However, the Colonials have also proven that they can step up defensively at any given moment, causing problems for such formidable opponents as Kansas State, Temple, Butler, and Saint Louis.
GW (12-16, 6-9 Atlantic 10) will need their defense to step in a huge way on Saturday if they are to emerge with a win and a ticket punched to Brooklyn for the Atlantic 10 Tournament. As was alluded to before, Saturday’s contest is effectively the Colonials’ unofficial first game of the tournament, after Charlotte came back to steal a win in overtime over lowly Duquesne, moving them to 7-8. The Colonials now sit on the outside looking in, a game behind Charlotte, Dayton, Richmond, and St. Bonaventure who occupy spots nine through 12 and with no possible way of securing a bid to the postseason with a loss. The task is extremely simple and for Mike Lonergan’s crew, it will be all hands on deck in order to secure the required win. Otherwise, their drive to the Atlantic 10 Tournament, dubbed “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” within the university, will end in a premature slumber.
You can catch all the action of Saturday’s contest with Dayton beginning at 1:45 with tipoff at 2 p.m. on WRGW-Colonials Radio Central at gwradio.com.