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Men’s basketball secures victory against crosstown rival Howard

Jennifer Igbonoba | Photographer
Eight of the Colonials’ first 10 points came from dunks, the first of which, a monstrous put-back from senior forward Ricky Lindo Jr., sent the already-buzzing crowd into a state of pandemonium. 

Men’s basketball secured their second consecutive victory in an electric performance at home, taking down their crosstown rival Howard.

After years of lackluster attendance and fan engagement, Head Coach Chris Caputo and men’s basketball had the Smith Center rocking again with their 85-75 win over Howard Friday night. Senior forward Ricky Lindo Jr. and freshman guard Maximus Edwards combined for 37 points and 17 rebounds on the way to a Colonials victory. 

“I’m almost speechless about how good the students have been,” Caputo said in a post-game interview. “In particular in this building, how loud it gets, it’s perfect for a college basketball environment like we have it. It’s not cookie-cutter, it’s a unique building. I just think it’s awesome.” 

The game got off to a high-flying, helter-skelter start, with 8 of the Colonials’ first 10 points coming from dunks, the first of which, a monstrous put-back from senior forward Ricky Lindo Jr., sent the already-buzzing crowd into a state of pandemonium. 

Lindo led GW on both ends of the court all night, scoring a game-high 19 points and pulling down nine boards and swatting four Bison shots. 

“I took what the defense gave me,” Lindo Jr. said. “Put-backs, rebounds, threes, just getting into a good 3-point position.”

After a back-and-forth start kept the score knotted at 8 points after six minutes of play, the Colonials began to pull away. Graduate student guard Brendan Adams brought the GW offense under his control and drilled a 3-pointer to punctuate an 8-0 GW run that put the Colonials up 16-8 nearly halfway through the first half. 

But the Bison weren’t ready to back down just yet. A dunk from sophomore guard Bryce Harris off a back cut and a fast-break finish by junior forward Jordan Wood forced GW to call timeout in an attempt to stop the bleeding. Led by Harris, who finished the night with a team-high 19 points, Howard stormed back to within 1 with 4:17 to go in the half. 

After the timeout, neither team was able to gain a clear advantage, and the Colonials went into halftime clinging to a 36-32 lead. 

Howard came out of the gate firing after the break, despite Edwards hitting a three for GW’s first shot of the half. Harris was particularly aggressive, scoring the first points of the half for the Bison off another backdoor cut and pulling down a huge offensive rebound before dishing the ball to junior forward Steve Settle, III, who laid it in to tie the game at 41 points a piece. 

But from that point on, GW hit the gas and never looked back. Edwards, who only scored 6 points in the first half, was the star of the second, finishing the game with 18 points while shooting a scorching-hot 60 percent from the field.

“He’s a talented young player,” Caputo said. “He’s got some dexterity and proprioception, knowing where you are in space, he has a really good feeling, he’s got it.”

Senior forward Hunter Dean also came up big for the Colonials in the second half, with 10 of his 14 points coming after the break. Dean, who was one of the five GW players on the court to start the second half despite originally coming off the bench, said he wasn’t aware of the change to the starting lineup ahead of time. 

“I had no idea,” Dean said. “When they call my number, I just make sure I’m ready to go.”

In addition to scoring, Dean pulled down nine big rebounds and sunk all four of his free throws. 

Getting to the line was key to GW’s success, as 23 of their 85 points came from the charity stripe. Lindo led the Colonials in the category, making all eight of his tries. 

“No matter what happens, if we get fouled, we’ve got to hit our free throws,” Lindo said. “They’re the easiest points besides a layup, dunks too.” 

And the Colonials did just that, hitting 23 of their 29 free-throw attempts, good for 79.3 percent, a number on par with the best free throw shooting teams in the country last season.

Thanks in part to Lindo and Dean, the Colonials dominated the glass all night, pulling down nine offensive boards and out-rebounding the Bison 39-22 overall. 

“It’s definitely a trend we’re looking to continue,” Lindo Jr. said. “All the coaching staff emphasize boxing out and rebounding. I think if we rebound, we can compete with anybody, so we just listened to that message and we boxed out and rebounded today and the results speak for themselves.” 

The Colonials will travel to Long Island, New York Monday to face Hofstra. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. 

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