Mike Lonergan had to approach tonight's game as a "must-win" for the George Washington Colonials after his team fell at VCU and at home against UMass last week. While the back-to-back losses weren't devastating to the Colonials, they were really in need of a win and could use a win for Atlantic 10 seeding as three other teams also have seven wins thus far on the season.
On the other side Chris Mooney's Richmond Spiders came into Tuesday night's game riding a three game winning streak since Derrick Williams left the team and star senior guard Cedrick Lindsay was lost for the season due to injury. Kendall Anthony has really stepped up in a time of adversity for the Spiders and is averaging 24 points per game during the winning streak. Freshman ShawnDre' Jones has also stepped up, like we said he would need to, and the freshman is averaging over 13 points per game in his expanded roll.
Lonergan was looking to mix things up right off the bat tonight as freshman Nick Griffin got his first career start and Indiana transfer Maurice Creek, the usual starter in Kethan Savage's absence, was brought off the bench.
The game began with a slow paced game that has come to be common in the Robins Center over the years. At the under 12 minute media timeout the Spiders fan themselves down 12-6 and on the wrong side of a 6-0 run capped off by an exclamation point of a put-back dunk from Isaiah Armwood.
Mooney responded by turning up some fullcourt defensive looks at the Colonials and also got a boost with nine early points from Terry Allen. The move and the play of Allen paid off as the Spiders cut the Colonials lead to 20-18 by the next media timeout.
Kendall Anthony's first three pointer of the game with 3:26 left on the half gave Richmond their first lead of the game at 25-24. After a seesaw final three minutes Richmond took a 29-28 lead into the locker room. Mooney could not have been happy with his team's 5-for-11 performance from the free throw line and with GW's 11 offensive rebounds compared to three for the Spiders.
The second half set us up for a battle of the Colonials' size versus the Spiders' speed.
Neither team could get a leg up in the second half as the Colonial's pounded the ball inside and Richmond relied on jumpers. Patrico Garino got the hoop and the harm with 13:31 left to cut Richmond's lead to just one point and set up a sequence where the game went the rest of the way as a one shot game.
With 28.3 seconds remaining Joe McDonald nailed the backend of a free throw situation and grow GW's lead to a two shot game at 67-63. After a missed three pointer from Trey Davis, Maurice Creek nailed four key free throws down the stretch to ice a 73-65 for the Colonials.
Tonight's win marked the twentieth of the year for GW, their first 20 win season in seven years. If there was ever a "bracketbuster" style game it was tonight as GW solidified their tournament bid a little more while the Spiders feel squarely on the bubble.
Five Colonials finished the night in double-figure lead by 16 for Creek. ShawnDre' Jones was the story for the Spiders finishing with a career high 25 points.
It won't get any easier for the Colonials this weekend as they head to St. Louis this weekend with a match up against the #10 ranked Billikens. Richmond will look to start a new winning streak by welcome La Salle into the Robins Center.
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