Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

Men’s basketball tops Saint Joseph’s to win fourth straight

Junior Tony Taylor had a team-high 20 points in GW's 78-71 win over Saint Joseph's. Viktors Dindzans | Senior Photo Editor

PHILADELPHIA – As his team prepared to face Saint Joseph’s on the road in just its second Atlantic 10 game of the season, men’s basketball head coach Karl Hobbs made sure that his team knew exactly what it would be walking into when it took the court Saturday afternoon at Hagan Arena.

In his decade of coaching the Colonials, Hobbs had only won once at Hagan Arena, and no GW player currently on the roster had ever played in the 62-year-old building, which was being renovated the last time GW played the Hawks on the road. All that, plus the fact that his team had advanced to 2-0 after its 78-71 victory over the Hawks, made Saturday’s victory especially sweet for the Colonials head coach.

“It doesn’t get any better than that, for us to start 2-0, obviously for us to win a tough, tough game at home [against La Salle], and then to win a game on the road here in this building? This is a tough building,” Hobbs said. “This is only the second time we’ve ever won here in 10 years, since I’ve been the coach, and to take a group, and entire team, where no one has ever played in this building before, and to win the game the way we did, it’s just a terrific win for us.”

The significance of beating Saint Joseph’s on the road wasn’t lost on the Colonials players either, who were made very aware of GW’s struggles to top the Hawks in Philadelphia.

“This is a big win for us,” junior guard Tony Taylor said. “I think in coach Hobbs’ 10 year, we only beat them once, so this was definitely a big win for him and for us as a team. We followed the game plan, we were really excited to play this game, and it’s just great to go 2-0.”

It was Taylor who, as usual, played the biggest role in leading the Colonials (9-6, 2-0 A-10) to their seventh win in their last eight games. The junior had a team-high 20 points against the Hawks and it was his last minute free throws that iced the game for GW after Saint Joseph’s guard Langtson Galloway hit a three to bring his team to within four with 32 seconds to play.

With sophomore guard and preseason All-Atlantic 10 third team selection Lasan Kromah sidelined for the season with an injured left foot, it has been Taylor who has become the Colonials’ go-to scorer late in games, a role that Hobbs said the Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., native has welcomed with open arms.

“What he’s doing is, he’s taking control of the game,” Hobbs said of Taylor. “He’s making big plays, and in games down the stretch, we’re putting the ball in his hands and he’s responding very well to it, and I thought today even more so, because we really didn’t rest him in the second half. Down the stretch, he wanted the ball in his hands and he made the big plays.”

Taylor wasn’t the only GW player to have a strong night offensively, with four other Colonials scoring in double figures. Sophomore Dwayne Smith continued his strong play of late, putting up 16 points against Saint Joseph’s. Senior center Joseph Katuka had a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds and sophomore forward David Pellom had 11 points to go with his nine boards. Sophomore Bryan Bynes tied a career-high with 13 points.

But even with five players in double figures, the Colonials couldn’t keep the Hawks from making a second-half run and shrinking the GW lead to as little as two points with 7:24 left in the game. GW managed to weather the storm though, never surrendering the lead it had possessed for the vast majority of the game, showing impressive poise in the hostile environment.

“I thought we responded extremely well and we kept our poise,” Hobbs said. “We were expecting that. They’re a good basketball team, you’re not gonna come in their building and their not gonna make a run and make a game of it. When you get to league play, no lead is safe,” he added.

It took GW six games to get its first two conference wins a year ago, and the Colonials haven’t won back-to-back games to start A-10 play since the 2005-2006 season. The win Saturday, Taylor said, will only continue to bolster the confidence of a GW team that opened the season 2-5 and lost games early in the year to four separate teams that last year’s Colonials had beaten.

“This is big for our confidence, because we feel that we can play at a high level all the time now,” he said. “It gives us more confidence in our defense, with us stopping guys and playing all these close games, because all these are close games, and us digging it out with such a young team, I think is great.”

The Colonials will look to win their fifth straight this Wednesday when they’ll take on Fordham at home. Tip-off at the Smith Center is set for 7 p.m.

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