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Men’s basketball rolls past Manhattan, earns first win of the season

File photo by Olivia Anderson | Photo Editor

Men’s basketball captured its first win of the season, defeating Manhattan at the Smith Center Saturday afternoon.

The Colonials (1-5) led by as many as 32 points in the 70–43 victory over the Jaspers (2-4) and every eligible GW player saw time on the court.

Redshirt junior guard DJ Williams entered as GW’s lead scorer and continued his dominance, posting a floor-leading 16 points and three rebounds. Junior forward Arnaldo Toro finished the game on a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds on the night, while sophomore guard Terry Nolan Jr contributed 11 points and four assists.

“It feels great, we’re just going to enjoy the moment right now, but tomorrow we’ve got to move to the next one,” Williams said. “We don’t want to get too high or worry about our past, we want to take it one game at a time.”

The win marks the first game since the Colonials’ overtime loss to Stony Brook in the team’s season opener where more than two players ended the night with double-digit scoring.

The Colonials limited Manhattan to 30.9 percent shooting on a 17-for-55 clip and allowed only two made three point shots on the night. Meanwhile, GW shot 55.6 percent from the field while converting 6-of-17 shooting from beyond the arc. Manhattan sophomore forward Ebube Ebube paced the Jaspers with nine points and 10 rebounds.

“A lot of times they were switching defenses so it’s hard to figure out,” head coach Maurice Joseph said. “We just try to stay consistent with what we’re running regardless of what defense they were in and that worked for us.”

The two teams went point-for-point to open the game. Manhattan got on the scoreboard first with a three-point shot, then the Colonials answered with an 8-0 run before the Jaspers hit a layup and a three-point shot back-to-back to knot the game 8–8 with 13 minutes left in the frame.

A jump shot by Williams broke the stalemate and spurred a 24–4 Colonials scoring run with contributions from Nolan and sophomore guard Justin Mazzulla. GW forced the Jaspers to turn over the ball five times in five straight possessions to fuel the Colonials’ offense.

“We went a little bit crazy at first but we were able to stay poised and were able to control the ball more and move the ball and create plays,” Toro said.

GW went into halftime with 19 points off 15 Manhattan turnovers and held a 35–16 lead.

The Colonials picked up where they left off in the second half, garnering 12 points while limiting the Jaspers to just two points in the same span – extending their lead 47–18 with 16 minutes left to play.

A tip in by Ebube got Manhattan back into a scoring rhythm, but GW continued to pile on the points.

The Jaspers’ smothering defense briefly caused problems for the Colonials down the stretch in the second half and the Colonials committed 10 more giveaways. Both teams ended the night with 21 turnovers.

“They turn people over 17 times a game and we had 21,” Joseph said. “The difference is, when we turned the ball over, the defensive end didn’t waver for us. We didn’t let that suck our energy out of our bodies and out of our team on the defensive end.”

The Jasper’s rattled off an 8-1 midway through the half to cut GW’s lead 55–32, but made free throws by redshirt junior guard Armel Potter and a midrange jumper by Mazzulla killed Manhattan’s momentum.

With five minutes left in the game, Joseph subbed in his bench, which continued GW’s offensive push. Junior guard Justin Williams came off the bench and scored seven points while grabbing three rebounds in the final five minutes of play.

Junior guard Luke Sasser recorded a layup and walk-on senior guard Malcom Elashari-Rashed scored his first career points off two-made free throws with less than a minute to go in the game.

The Colonials return to action Wednesday when they host Vermont at home. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m.

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