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Men’s basketball secures crucial win against Rhode Island in overtime

File Photo by Jordyn Bailer | Assistant Photo Editor
Senior guard James Bishop led the Colonials with 25 points and six assists.

Men’s basketball overtook the Rams 89-80 in an overtime thriller, tying George Mason as for sixth seed for the Atlantic 10 standings and marking their second overtime game this season.

The Colonials (8-7) started off the game slow as the Rams (4-11) kept them scoreless in the first four minutes of the first half, but a pair of early substitutions kicked off their momentum. GW kept their lead for most of the game and was ultimately able to hang on to win in overtime.

Senior guard James Bishop led the Colonials with 25 points and six assists, and senior forward Hunter Dean set a new personal season high with 17 points and 12 rebounds.

Sophomore Ishmael Leggett led Rhode Island, finishing with 30 points and seven rebounds and making four of eight shots from the behind the 3-point line. The Rams also got help from senior guard Malik Martin, who finished with 21 points, hitting eight of his 13 shots from the field.

Rhode Island came out strong, jumping out an early 10-0 lead in the first four minutes of the game after both Martin and Leggett netted a pair of 3-pointers. A foul on senior forward Ricky Lindo Jr. in the fourth minute led to GW’s first point, but Lindo failed to convert the second free throw.

Redshirt freshman guard Maximus Edwards hit his first 3-pointer of the night before the first media timeout, waking the Colonials up from a five-minute scoring drought. Heading out of the media timeout, GW made two early substitutions taking out Lindo and Dean in favor of graduate student guard Amir Harris and junior center Noel Brown.

The Colonials kicked up their pace with a 3-pointer from Adams from a Bishop assist to put the score at 11-7. The Rams responded with a fastbreak layup from Martin, but Bishop maintained the 4-point differential with a floater in the paint.

A shooting foul from Rhode Island gave Bishop a chance to tie the game 16-16 off a turnover. A pair of layups from Adams and Bishop put the score in the Colonials’ favor for the rest of the first half.

A second-chance layup in the paint from Harris off a Rams turnover led the Colonials to consolidate a 10-point differential with six minutes to go in the first half, with the score sitting at 28-18. GW would extend their lead to 12 points before the Rams gained back momentum with a jumper from Leggett that would kick off an 11-point Rams run.

GW made 15 out of 28 shots in the first half, good for 53.6 shooting percentage from the field. Dean put on an impressive performance with 13 points in just the first half to go with six rebounds.

The Colonials went into the locker room up 39-31 after a Dean dunk in the final 20 seconds of the half.

The second half kicked off with a second-chance jumper by Leggett in the paint that cut the GW lead to just 6. Adams responded with a made 3-pointer off an assist from Bishop to keep the Rams at bay.

Legget then went on to hit a 3 which Edwards followed with a 3-pointer of his own to defend the Colonials’ lead.

With just five minutes left in the second half, sophomore guard Sebastian Thomas hit a 3-pointer that brought Rhode Island within 7 points. A Rams run punctuated by a pair of Leggett free-throws appeared to grant Rhode Island a come-from-behind victory, until Edwards pulled a defensive rebound that turned into a layup by Adams on the other end to tie the game in the final seconds and send it to overtime.

The Rams struck first in overtime with a layup that Bishop would counter with one of his own on the other end. A layup by Edwards would give GW their first lead of the overtime at 75-73.

Bishop sunk another layup before the first timeout to give the Colonials a 77-73 advantage heading into the remaining two minutes. The Rams would go on to hit three free throws after the media timeout, while Bishop sank a 3-pointer to push the GW lead to 6.

The Colonials would then score three layups in less than a minute, increasing the differential to double digits, but a jumper by Rhode Island cut it back down to 86-78. Dean would then net two free throws in the last 42 seconds, and final free-throw by Lindo would seal the game for GW and give them a 89-80 victory.

With three games left in the regular season, the Colonials find themselves tied for sixth place with George Mason in the A-10 standings. The Colonials will be looking to secure a key road win against La Salle Feb. 25 at 6 p.m.

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