Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Men's Basketball: GW 75 Saint Louis 72

Yuta Watanabe (10 points) to the rescue!

From our friends at GW Athletics...

GW Men's Hoops Edges Saint Louis, 75-72, for Sixth Straight Win

Five Score in Double Figures to Help Colonials Remain Perfect at Home

GW men's basketball erased a 12-point second-half deficit to defeat Saint Louis, 75-72, on Tuesday night and remain perfect at the Charles E. Smith Center this season.

The victory was the sixth straight overall for GW (12-3), equaling the longest win streak of fourth-year Head Coach Mike Lonergan's tenure.

Joe McDonald connects on a 1st half trey

The win also moved the Colonials to 2-0 in Atlantic 10 play for the first time since 2011, kept them a perfect 6-0 at the Smith Center this season and extended their home win streak to seven-in-a-row and 21 of the last 22.

Patricio Garino chats with Coach Mike Lonergan (r)

Five Colonials scored in double figures for the second time this season, led by junior Patricio Garino's team-high 18 points, six rebounds and three steals. Garino's three thefts moved him into eighth-place on GW's career steals list with 143.

Kevin Larsen (16 points) draws a crowd

Junior Kevin Larsen finished with 16 points and a team-high three assists, classmates Kethan Savage and Joe McDonald added 12 and 11 points, respectively, and freshman Yuta Watanabe hit double digits for the fifth straight game with 10 points.

Milik Yarbrough led all scorers with 26 points

Both GW and Saint Louis shot better than 59 percent in the first half, but five 3-pointers from the Billikens had the Colonials in a 40-32 deficit at the break. SLU's Milik Yarbrough (15) and Davell Roby (11) combined for 26 first-half points to counter eight apiece from Garino and McDonald and six from Larsen.

Smith Center erupts. GW improves to 12-3 (2-0 A-10)

Yarbrough opened the second-half scoring to help Saint Louis grab its largest lead of the night, 44-32, with 17:41 remaining, but GW stormed back during a dominant nine-minute stretch.

Darian Bryant (#15) gives GW an 8-5 lead

The Colonials went on a 24-7 momentum-shifting run fueled by eight points from both Larsen and Watanabe to seize control at 56-51 with 9:00 left. Larsen converted a three-point play to make it a single-digit game, 49-42, at the 14:03 mark, then Watanabe buried a pair of threes for GW's first lead in more than 20 minutes at 52-49 with 9:59 to play.

GW twice pushed its lead to six only to have SLU battle back to tie the game twice more, the last at 66-66 with 4:07 left. Senior John Kopriva and Garino both scored on put-backs as part of a 7-0 run that gave the Colonials their largest lead, 73-66, with 48 seconds to play, but the Billikens hit a pair of late threes to keep it a one-possession game and forced a turnover for a chance to tie in the final seconds.

Larsen defended a pass out-of-bounds with 1.5 seconds left and Watanabe blocked Mike Crawford's last-chance jumper as time expired to give GW its first win in the series since January 2011.

Yarbrough posted a game- and career-high 26 points for Saint Louis (8-7, 0-2 A-10), which lost its third straight game. Roby was held to three points in the second half to finish with 14.

GW will look to extend its win streak to seven at La Salle on Saturday. The 12:30 p.m. contest will be broadcast nationally on NBC Sports Network and NBC Sports Live Extra.

Click here for last night's box score.