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Crime log: Subject barred after shoplifting at bookstore
By Max Porter, Contributing News Editor • February 26, 2024

Men’s basketball trumped by Rhode Island, extends losing streak to 5

James Schaap | Staff Photographer
Redshirt freshman Darren Buchanan Jr. turns the corner on a Rhode Island defender.

Men’s basketball (14-8, 3-6 A-10) fell to the Rhode Island Rams (11-12, 5-5 A-10) in an 88-65 blowout Tuesday.

Despite going into the half with a 2-point lead against the seventh-seed Rams, GW underwent a 25-point deficit in the second half to extend their four-game losing streak to five and putting them at 3-6 in Atlantic 10 play. GW is now ranked 12th in the A-10 as the Revs have tumbled down the conference leaderboard over the last two weeks.

“I think we showed everyone what we are capable of,” sophomore guard Max Edwards said. “We just dug ourselves in a hole and we need to find a way to get out of it.”

Redshirt freshman forward Darren Buchanan Jr. led the Revs with 23 points, going 9 of 13 in an efficient performance from the field. Edwards finished with 18 points of his own. No other Rev finished with double-digit points.   

Senior guard James Bishop IV had a quiet night scoring, contributing just 9 points that were muted by four personal fouls.

Leading the way offensively for the Rams was junior guard Zek Montgomery, who set his season-high point total with 30, going 11 of 14 from the field. Fellow junior guard and Virginia native Jaden House had 23 points in his season-high 35 minutes. The Rams were also without junior forward David Green, who averages 15.6 points per game.

GW started strong, with a 3-pointer from Edwards to open the game. Buchanan Jr. added a quick steal and dunk followed by a Bishop shot sunk from beyond the arc to put the Revs up and forcing a URI timeout at the 15:09 mark of the first half, up 15-5.  

Graduate Babatunde Akingbola notched one of his three blocks on a shot by URI’s Tyson Brown in an effort to defend GW’s lead toward the end of the first. But the Revolutionaries’ tempo slowed quickly as URI fought back to end the first half, down by only 2 points. The half ended 37-35, with GW clutching a lead that would be buried by their second-half performance. 

The Revs struggled from deep, sinking just 5 of 28 3-point attempts, including missing all 11 attempts in the second half. GW went just 8 for 47 in their previous two games against La Salle and Dayton. Their recent perimeter performance is a stark contrast from earlier season when the Revs guaranteed at least eight 3-balls a game in their first six conference match-ups, shooting at a 40 percent clip. They’ve gone 13 for 65 from beyond the arc over the last three matches.

“We just got to keep shooting the good ones,” Edwards said. “If they don’t fall, we just got to keep defending on the other end and not let it affect the rest of the game.”

What worsens the Revs’ poor 3-point performance is Rhode Island’s 3-point defense, which ranks in the bottom 60 in the nation. The Rams also allow an average 76.2 points per game, 14th out of 15 in the A-10. The Revs are the only team that allows more points per game on average.

The Rams busted out a 14-2 run to start the second half. URI held up in the backcourt to secure their lead, snagging 14 defensive boards on the half against GW’s six. A big swat under the basket denied bishop a bucket and the Revs’ chance to cut the lead. 

Down 10 points with 10 minutes to go, GW failed to capitalize on free throws, going six for 11 and shooting roughly 53.3 percent from the charity stripe in the second half. 

The inconsistent shooting behind the line has been an issue all year for the Revs. As a team, they are shooting 74.2 percent from the free-throw line, fourth in the A-10. Buchanan, who was five of 10 from the line tonight, is a 62 percent free-throw shooter on the year. 

“It all winds up coming back to ‘June’ [Buchanan Jr.] and James often,” Head Coach Chris Caputo said. “When you think of our wins, those guys together are a tough combination.”

URI showcased their depth, dropping 34 points off the bench against GW’s 8. Freshman guard Garrett Johnson was out of uniform due to injury, which also hampered the Revs roster. Johnson averages 13.8 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. Alongside Buchanan Jr., Johnson has played his way into the A-10 Rookie of the Year conversation, combining for seven Rookie of the Week awards. 

Akingbola offered a block and a steal with less than 5 minutes left but ultimately fouled out, leaving the Revs without a big man in the key to stop URI’s attacks. URI’s House delivered an exclamation point dunk on Edwards as the game drew to a close. GW saw its biggest point deficit yet as the clock drained, 23 grains of salt in the wound that made it five straight losses for the Revolutionaries.

“There’s nothing you can do other than come back to work,” Caputo said. “Work to get better, keep fighting — all those things. It tests you.”

The Revs are back in action Feb. 10 as they take on the Loyola Chicago Ramblers from the Smith Center at noon, which can be viewed on Monumental Sports.

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