WASHINGTON – Sophomore Nemanja Mikic scored a season-high 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting to lead the George Washington men’s basketball team to its third straight Atlantic 10 victory, 60-52, over Charlotte on Saturday night at Charles E. Smith Center.
The victory was GW’s (8-11, 3-2 A-10) fourth in its last seven games overall and fourth consecutive win at home to improve to 5-4 this season at Smith Center.
Junior Lasan Kromah added nine points, six rebounds, three steals and three assists for the Colonials, who also won their fourth straight against the 49ers. The two teams will meet again on Feb. 22 at Charlotte’s Halton Arena.
The Colonials trailed by as many as 12 points, 19-7, early in the first half after a 15-0 run from the 49ers. However, GW managed to trim the margin to five by halftime and erupted with a 15-4 run to start the second half and never trailed again.
Senior Tony Taylor finished with eight points and five assists, but was limited to 28 minutes due to foul trouble. Taylor picked up his fourth personal foul with GW leading 38-33 with 10:24 remaining.
Mikic and reserve Bryan Bynes stepped up with Taylor on the bench. Bynes scored all eight of his points after replacing Taylor, and Mikic netted nine of his 19 over the final 5:40 to help GW pull away late after Jamar Briscoe’s three-pointer pulled Charlotte even at 45-45 with 5:18 left.
Junior Dwayne Smith grabbed an offensive rebound and stuck in a putback for the go-ahead basket 34 seconds later, then Bynes found Mikic for an open jumper and a 49-45 lead with 3:44 to play.
Briscoe, who finished with 14 points on 6-of-12 shooting, hit his second 3-pointer to trim the 49ers’ deficit to one, 49-48, with 2:48 showing, but Taylor assisted a Mikic mid-range basket on the next trip and then found Mikic for a transition three for a 54-48 advantage with 1:04 left.
Bynes capped a game-changing 12-3 run with three free throws for GW’s largest lead at 57-48, and the Colonials tacked on three more foul shots en route to the 60-52 final.
Chris Braswell posted a 17-point, 13-rebound double-double on 8-of-14 shooting to lead Charlotte (10-8, 2-3 A-10), which lost its third straight conference game.
The Colonials held the 49ers to 36.7 percent shooting (22-of-60) and their lowest scoring output of the season. Charlotte’s seven players outside of Braswell and Briscoe made just 8-of-34 field goals.
GW improved to 48 percent from the floor in the second half to finish at 39.6 percent (19-of-48) for the contest. The Colonials made a season-best 18 free throws on a season-high 34 attempts, and matched their second-best rebounding total (41) of the season behind senior Aaron Ware’s career-high 10 boards.
GW faces a tough test at La Salle (14-6, 3-2 A-10) in its next outing on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The Explorers are 10-0 at Tom Gola Arena this season. That game can be listened to live on FederalNewsRadio.com and 1500/820 AM.