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The GW Hatchet

AN INDEPENDENT STUDENT NEWSPAPER SERVING THE GW COMMUNITY SINCE 1904

The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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PAUL closes in Western Market
By Ella Mitchell, Staff Writer • April 22, 2024

Men’s basketball falls to La Salle in heartbreaker, knocked out of championship

Max+Edwards+rises+for+contested+shot+attempt.
Florence Shen
Max Edwards rises for contested shot attempt.

Men’s basketball (15-17, 4-14 A-10) lost to La Salle 61-60 (16-16, 6-12 A-10) in the first round of the Atlantic 10 tournament, ending their season.

The team led for nearly the entire first half, reaching their biggest lead of 9 points with 13:06 remaining in the first and again 26 seconds before halftime.

With GW leading 60-59 entering the final minute, La Salle senior guard Jhamir Brickus scored with 20 seconds left to give his team the lead. The Revs had the opportunity to respond, but a jumper from senior guard James Bishop fell short with four seconds left. After a rebound by freshman forward Darren Buchanan Jr., Bishop, in his final collegiate game, had one last opportunity to win the game for his squad, but a last-second 3-point shot glanced off the rim to end the game.

“The second one, the ball kind of rolled to me,” Bishop said on his game-winning attempts. “I was seeing the clock go 2, 1, so I was just trying to get a look off, a pretty clean one. Just didn’t go in.”

The Revs ran out to an 8-2 lead nearly four minutes in thanks to 3-pointers from Bishop and freshman guard Trey Autry. GW was 6-13 from 3-point territory in the half, but only managed two field goals from 2-point range, with the team going 8-28 from the field, a 28.6 percent clip.

Five early turnovers from GW helped La Salle back into the game, with a 3-pointer from Brickus making the score 14-12 with 11:21 remaining in the half. The Explorers struggled to score in the first half as well, connecting on only nine of their 36 attempts from the field, good for just 25 percent. 

“I thought actually we got our best defensive performance today,” Head Coach Chris Caputo said. “It’s a credit to those guys, their character, James [Bishop], Stretch [Babatunde Akingbola], seniors, their leadership to keep everybody together.”

Babatunde Akingbola celebrates a score. (Florence Shen)

A 3-pointer from Bishop brought GW back to a 9-point lead with 26 seconds left in the half, but two La Salle free throws brought them back within 7 points, entering halftime trailing 23-30.

The Revs failed to score for over four minutes to start the second half, with La Salle coming within 3 points before a free throw from freshman guard Jacoi Hutchinson broke the drought. 

Two 3-pointers from La Salle tied the game at 36 with 11:35 remaining, but a layup from graduate student center Babatunde Akingbola the following GW possession brought the Revs back into the lead, albeit momentarily. 

A jumper from junior guard Khalil Brantley gave La Salle a 40-38 lead with 9:45 remaining, their first lead since a minute into the game. 

A layup from Buchanan gave GW the lead once again, putting them up 47-45 with just over seven minutes remaining. The next possession, Buchanan assisted on a Bishop 3-pointer that put the Revs up 5 points. 

After a few minutes of back-and-forth, the Explorers embarked on a 7-0 run, culminating in a Brickus jumper to give his team a 59-57 lead with 2:23 left. Buchanan was able to respond, however, knocking down a corner 3-pointer to give the Revs a 60-59 lead with just under two minutes remaining.

Buchanan, who earned a spot on the all-A-10 rookie team, finished conference play averaging 17.7 points per game, good for fifth overall in the conference.

“I’m just eager to come back next year and be back in this position and just make sure everything’s different next year,” Buchanan said when asked to reflect upon the season. “That’s where my head’s at right now.”

Darren Buchanan Jr. collects himself. (Florence Shen)

Both teams failed to score on their next possessions, but Brickus’ jumper put his team ahead one final time. Hutchinson, charged with guarding Brickus, recorded three fouls on the team’s final defensive possession, the last of which sent Brickus to the free throw line for an and-1 opportunity. After the miss, GW failed to capitalize on their next possession, ending the game with their last points coming with 1:56 remaining.

“Your guy [Bishop] has 2,000 points in his career and he’s made some game-winners,” Caputo said. “You know what? I’m going to trust him, he’s going to make a good choice.”

With the loss, the Revs end the season with a 15-17 overall record, including losing 14 of their final 15 games. Bishop, who led GW in scoring with 19 points, ends his storied Revolutionaries career third in program history in points scored, one of three players to score more than 2,000 points. 

“Things didn’t necessarily go our way,” Bishop said. “But I love how we fought. I wouldn’t change the decision to come back for anything.”

 

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