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The GW Hatchet

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Wine bar on 2200 Penn opens doors
By Ella Mitchell, Contributing News Editor • June 14, 2024

Men’s basketball sweeps Rhode Island at home

Jordyn Bailer | Photographer
The team has now notched more conference wins this season than any other during Head Coach Jamion Christian’s tenure.

Men’s basketball completed the season sweep of Rhode Island on Saturday night thanks to a strong defensive effort.

The Colonials (11-15, 7-7 A-10) were in control all night and won 72-61. The Rams (13-13, 4-10 A-10) have lost nine of their last 10 games, a streak that started with a 63-61 loss to GW on Jan. 22.

“I’m just really happy how our team’s been able to play with laser focus the last few weeks here,” Head Coach Jamion Christian said. “I definitely think we’re getting better every time we’re stepping out there on the floor. I think we’re a dangerous team.”

GW limited the Rams to 45.5 percent shooting from the field and 23.1 percent shooting from three point range while also forcing 17 turnovers.

“We knew what was on the table,” freshman guard Brayon Freeman said. “This would put us in position to start our winning record in the conference.”

Sophomore guard Joe Bamisile led the Colonials in scoring for the second consecutive game with 20 points to go along with four rebounds, three assists and two steals. This was the Chesterfield, Va. local’s ninth 20-plus point game of the season.

“I thought his passing today was even more impressive than his scoring,” Christian said. “He created two or three opportunities for guys that maybe he wouldn’t have earlier in the year and that just shows the kind of confidence that he has in his teammates.”

This is the latest in the season the team has been above .500 since they finished the 2016-17 season at 10-8. This is also the most conference wins the team has had in a season during Christian’s tenure.

Rhode Island took an early 4-3 lead, but after a contested mid-range jumper by Freeman gave GW the lead, the Colonials never trailed.

Freeman paced the Colonials early, driving into the lane and creating shots for himself and his teammates. He had 9 first half points and finished the night with 13 points, three assists, two rebounds and a steal on an efficient 5-8 from the floor.

The Colonials showcased their ball movement early on, dishing out 12 first half assists on 17 made shots to pair with only five turnovers. Senior forward Ricky Lindo Jr. showed out in the ball security front, notching a team-high four assists and only one turnover.

Coming into the matchup with the Rams, Lindo Jr. averaged 2.5 turnovers and 1.4 assists per game. The D.C. native also had 4 points, five rebounds and two blocks.

“I thought his decision making, besides the one turnover, was outstanding today,” Christian said. “His decision making, how he moved the ball, his decision making on the shots that he took, his decision making on the passing that he made.”

On the other end of the court, redshirt sophomore forwards Makhi and Makhel Mitchell gave GW issues down low all night.

The twin brothers combined for 28 points, with Makhi scoring 13 and Makhel scoring 15. The Colonials looked to double team them when they received the ball down low, a strategy that paid off, as they combined for six turnovers and three assists.

GW maintained a consistent lead throughout the first half, with the lead hovering around 10 points. On the final possession of the first half, junior forward Qwanzi Samuels grabbed an offensive rebound, kicked it out to Bamisile, and the Virginia Tech transfer drilled it as the buzzer sounded to put the Colonials up 44-30 at the break.

Rhode Island started the second half on a 10-3 run to pull the Rams within 47-40. But 7 points was as small as the margin would get, as the Colonials clamped down defensively and got timely buckets from an array of sources.

Junior forward Hunter Dean scored 6 of his 7 points in the second half and finished the night 3-4 from the field, capitalizing on the space given to him by the Rams.

Frontcourt foul trouble has been a nagging issue for the Colonials this year, and it was no different against a Rhode Island team that is the 29th best team in the country at getting to the line.

Lindo Jr. picked up his fourth foul with 10:09 remaining in the game, forcing him to sit out down the stretch. Samuels picked up his third foul with 9:02 left, putting Rhode Island on the bonus, and Dean picked up his third with 8:34 remaining.

The Colonials coasted for most of the second half, thanks to continued strong defense and important buckets down the stretch. The team saw three players get into double digit scoring and ended the game with 16 assists on 28 made field goals.

GW is putting the pieces together at the right time and is in position to make it out of the first round of the A-10 tournament for the first time in Christian’s tenure. But the team still has at least three games remaining this season with the potential for a fourth due to a makeup game with St. Bonaventure that is yet to be made up.

“This team can do a lot,” Lindo Jr. said. “We trust each other more and once you have trust in your teammates, you can do a lot of things, a lot of special things.”

Next up for the Colonials is a road matchup with George Mason Sunday at 2:30 p.m. as they look to earn a winning record.

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