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Men’s basketball withstands late rally to defeat Maryland Eastern Shore at home

Raphael Kellner | Staff Photographer
Graduate student guard Brendan Adams scored 19 points, leading a steady offensive barrage to keep the Colonials on top.

Men’s basketball took down Maryland Eastern Shore 69-64 Friday at the Smith Center, despite a furious, late-game run by the Hawks.

The GW guards’ relentless attack on the paint ultimately provided enough of a cushion for the Colonials (3-1) to eke out a win over the Hawks (1-3), with graduate student guard Brendan Adams and senior guard James Bishop IV contributing 17 and 19 points, respectively. GW improved to three wins on the season with its recent victory, rebounding from a tough loss on the road to Hofstra Nov. 14.

“The way they play defense, they put a lot of pressure, so if you get it inside, they’re going to break down in some places,” Adams said in a post-game interview. “So that was definitely a big point of emphasis, just getting it in the paint.” 

The game got off to a slow start for both teams with the score sitting at 5-5 after the first three minutes. But a signature snatch-back 3-pointer from Bishop and senior forward Ricky Lindo Jr.’s first alley-oop slam of the game provided a spark and had the GW fans rumbling.

Head Coach Chris Caputo emphasized the importance of student engagement in a post-game press conference.  

“It’s what can make this special as we move forward,” Caputo said. “It’s as much a part of what we need to do here as anything else, is create that really special bond with the students. They really brought it, and I expect them to bring it every time school’s in session.”

Despite the early makings of a dominant run, the Colonials couldn’t manage to pull away from the Hawks, and the score was knotted again with five minutes to go in the first half at 19-19.

As the end of the first quarter approached, Bishop started to heat up. After splitting the Hawks’ defense down the middle and sinking a contested floater, he blew by his defender for a layup that gave GW a 25-19 lead and a window of opportunity. 

With a minute to go in the first, Lindo busted that window open, shaking the Smith Center with two rim-rattling alley-oop dunks, both off assists from Adams, to take GW into halftime with a 31-21 lead and momentum. 

Coming out of the gate in the second half, Maryland Eastern Shore began to chip away at the 10-point GW lead. Graduate student guard Ahamadou Fofana knocked in two free throws, a mid-range jumper and a 3-pointer to cut the Colonial advantage to just 5 at 36-31 with three minutes gone by in the half.

Thanks to a consistent offensive barrage from Bishop and Adams, the Colonials pulled away again, extending their lead to 55-36 with just six minutes left to go in the game.

But from then on, GW’s game started to fall apart. The Hawks’ full-court press, which the Colonials had done a good job at breaking for most of the game, suddenly began to present problems.

While the Colonials struggled with turnovers all game, finishing with 18 total, the last three minutes of the game were especially error-prone. In the last three minutes of the game, GW turned the ball over five times, allowing the Hawks to claw their way back into game.

“I’m going to give credit to UMES, because that’s their style of play, it’s what they do,” Caputo said. “We’ve got to really look at what we did there with the press break and then see why we turned it over a lot. I thought we hung on to it a little too much when we could have gotten it out of our hands.”

What had been a 19-point lead dwindled to just 9 with 45 seconds to go in the game. A 3-pointer from graduate student guard Donchevell Nugent cut it to 7 with thirty seconds left.

Ultimately, GW was able to secure critical rebounds and hold onto the ball long enough to hang on to their lead and escape with a 69-64 win.

Caputo said the team will miss having the student section packed next week as many students leave campus for the Thanksgiving holiday. 

“I’m going to miss them next week, I hope some people are hanging around,” he said. “Maybe if they want to have Thanksgiving at my house we can keep them around for some of these games. They’re two big home games.”

The Colonials play UC San Diego at the Smith Center Tuesday at 7 p.m.

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