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Colonials put on shooting clinic, trounce Rams 93-67

Guard Maurice Creek hits a jumper earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo
Cameron Lancaster
Guard Maurice Creek hits a jumper earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

MBB Vs. Fordham from The GW Hatchet on Vimeo.

Preparing for its toughest stretch of the season against the conference’s best, the men’s basketball team was looking for a confidence booster against a struggling Fordham team.

They got it in the form of a 93-67 trouncing of the Rams, producing possibly their best offensive half of the season in front of a sellout homecoming crowd. With the win, the Colonials improve to 12-0 at home.

“The environment was great. This was my first homecoming at GW so to see the crowd all into it, it was great,” graduate student Maurice Creek said.

GW (19-4, 7-2) would distance themselves from the Rams right from the tip. As soon as the referee tossed the ball into the air, senior forward Isaiah Armwood leapt past Fordham’s Ryan Rhoomes to tip the ball to Creek on the left wing. Creek, as if they drew it up before the game started, lobbed the ball almost from half court to a streaking Patricio Garino who slammed the ball down for the first basket of the game, sending the Smith Center into an immediate frenzy.

“I was a little scared at the beginning,” Garino said. “I have never caught it like that before. I know I can do it, in practice maybe or a pickup game, but I’m glad that it worked out.”

From that point on, GW couldn’t miss. After going on an initial 8-0 run to start the game, the Colonials would end the half shooting 75.9 percent from the field on 22-29 shooting.

Creek and Garino, who started the game with a bang, would lead the way. Garino would score 14 first half points on 6-6 shooting, while Creek, who went scoreless in 21 minutes versus Duquesne Wednesday, would finish with 11 points in the half.

“We haven’t shot as well as I thought we would this year,” head coach Mike Lonergan said. “Early in the year we were lighting it up, led by Maurice. We were hitting a lot of threes. We’re back down as far as number of made three’s, down near the bottom of the league. So we are trying to get the ball inside, but we are trying to shoot it when we are open.”

Eight of the Colonials 22 first-half field goals came from behind the arc, as GW shot 66.7 percent from deep, led by two trey’s from Creek and freshman Skyler White.

Guard Maurice Creek hits a jumper against Fordham on Saturday. Creek led GW with 20 points. Cameron Lancaster | Assistant Photo Editor
Guard Maurice Creek hits a jumper against Fordham on Saturday. Creek led GW with 20 points. Cameron Lancaster | Assistant Photo Editor

Creek would finish with 20 points, four rebounds, and four assists, while Garino would finish with 18 points, six rebounds, and four assists. Altogether, GW would finish with four players in double figures.

The Colonials were able to move the ball extremely well, often finding a streaking cutter or open player in the corner. In the first half alone, GW would have 17 assists to just seven turnovers.

“We are not selfish at all and we really trust each other from the last guy on the team to the first one we know we all can play,” Garino said. “So we just make our plays and we trust everybody to hit their shots in the first half, so that helps alot with the assists.”

While GW was able to drain shots from anywhere on the floor, Fordham struggled to find the bottom of the net all game. The Rams would start the game 1-8 from the floor, and go 4-19 through the first 11 minutes of play. They would end the first half shooting 31.3 percent and finish the game shooting 32.8 percent.

Rams’ senior guard Branden Frazier, who played the entire forty minutes of the ballgame, would finish with a game-high 23 points on 8-20 shooting. But GW would keep the Atlantic 10 scoring leader – Jon Severe – completely in check. Severe, who averages 19.5 points per game would finish with just nine points on 2-7 shooting, struggling with foul trouble from the game’s early stages.

“I thought our guys did a good job, that’s probably the least shot attempts he’s [Severe’s] had all year; he’s averaging 17 or 18 attempts,” Lonergan said. “I said ‘hey, you’re not going to keep him from shooting, but we want those to be bad shots and deep shots.’ He had a little spurt there in the first half – hit a three took it to the basket a couple times – and then I thought the 1-3-1 really limited his shot attempts.”

One of the key’s for GW going into Saturday’s contest was to win the rebound battle against a Rams’ team that averages 38.0 rebounds per game and leads the league in offensive rebounds. Fordham would live up to the title pulling down an impressive 18 offensive boards, but overall GW would out-rebound the Rams 37-33. The Colonials frontcourt Armwood and sophomore Kevin Larsen would combine for 16 rebounds, while junior John Kopriva would also tally six rebounds in eighteen minutes of play.

GW’s past two wins have come against the A-10’s worst, but now they will face its best. First will be a rematch against VCU in Richmond Wednesday at 7 p.m. and then a first look at Massachusetts back at the Smith Center Saturday at 2 p.m.

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