Courtesy of GWsports.com
KANSAS CITY — At the College Basketball Experience Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City, the GW men’s basketball team dropped its first game of the season in a tightly-contested affair, 81-73, with Georgia.
The game saw the lead change hands 12 times and featured 10 ties, the last of which came at 68-68 with 4:41 to play. Georgia was able to put the game away at the free throw line down the stretch, and send the Colonials to 3-1 on the young season with a match-up tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN3 in the consolation game of the classic vs. either Kansas or UAB.
GW held a 36-35 lead at intermission after some hot shooting from Matt Hart pulled GW out of an early six-point deficit. The sharpshooter buried three three-pointers in a 1:36 stretch to give GW its first lead of the game at 28-27. Hart finished with a career-high five threes on the game in six attempts, while matching his season-high output from last season with 17 point on the night.
Tyler Cavanaugh sank four threes of his own (4-of-8) and had a game-high 21 points, but Georgia won the battle of the boards 39-30 and parlayed that edge into a 13-4 advantage in second chance points that proved to be the difference in the game.
Yuta Watanabe was the third Colonial in double-figures in scoring with 14 points, and he limited 5-9 Georgia point guard J.J. Frazier into a 5-of-13 shooting night, but Frazier sunk 6-of-7 free throws, including all four in the final 30 seconds of play, to finish with 18 points.
“This is a great learning experience for us to understand the value of every single possession throughout the course of the game,” said interim head coach Maurice Joseph. “If we can lock in for 40 minutes and put 40 minutes together we can be a pretty good team, but we’ve got to get there.”
Yante Maten also threw in 18 for the Bulldogs, while Juwan Parker (nine points, 11 rebounds) and Derek Ogbeide (11 points, eight rebounds) keyed Georgia’s effort in the paint against GW’s young front line. Freshman big man Arnaldo Toro held his own down low with eight rebounds to pace GW on the glass, but nevertheless it was Georgia that held a 40-18 lead in points in the paint.
Patrick Steeves gave GW eight points in a reserve role and point man Jaren Sina matched Parker’s five assists for game-high honors – against just one turnover – but Georgia hit the shots when it mattered most in the final five minutes of the game.
Maten broke the 68-68 tie with a jumper at the 4:04 mark, and after a Georgia free throw extended the lead to three, a nifty Frazier reverse lay-in with just over two minutes to go pushed the lead to five. After a Ogbeide free throw made it 74-68 with 1:32 to play, Cavanaugh cut the lead in half with a three at the 1:09 mark. From there, Georgia received a three-point play from Pape Diatta to extend the GW deficit to six before the Bulldogs put it away at the charity stripe.
GW plays the loser of the night’s second game of the CBE doubleheader tomorrow night, before returning home to host the Big Ten’s Penn State on Saturday. The Colonials are now 17-10 in the last three seasons against teams from the AAC, ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Pac 12 and SEC.