Men’s Basketball Road Trips – The GW Hatchet

Men’s basketball fell to a talented Saint Louis team on Wednesday night.

The Colonials (6-12, 2-4 A-10) got a strong showing from junior guard James Bishop, who finished with a career-high 30 points, two assists and a rebound on 9-of-19 shooting from the floor . . But the Billikens offense (13-6, 4-2 A-10) was too much for GW to handle in an 80-67 loss in which the home side never trailed.

“Overall, I’m disappointed with our defensive tenacity,” said head coach Jamion Christian. “I felt like we were getting to a point where we were doing really well defensively and we had a setback tonight.”

The loss extends the program’s 15-game winless streak outside the Eastern Time Zone that dates back to December 25, 2014. The last time the team won an Atlantic 10 game outside the Eastern Time Zone the East dates back to February 13, 2006.

“When you’re in the A-10, you play in really, really good basketball environments,” Christian said. “So there is always a big advantage on the pitch. In the end, it really comes down to physical toughness on the road.

St. Louis was led by redshirt freshman Gibson Jimmerson, who finished the game with 28 points and four rebounds on 11-of-20 shooting from the field and 6-of-11 three-pointers. Jimmerson gave the Colonial defense fits all night long with his backdoor cuts and ball moves.

“I feel like if we made Jimmerson a passer, you know, he was 30 tonight,” Christian said. “He’s a great attacking player. I thought we could have done a better job on him.

The Colonials struggled with turnovers to start the game, and the Billikens made them pay, finishing with 19 points on 14 GW turnovers. Meanwhile, GW had nine points on eight Saint Louis turnovers.

“It really gave us a bad start because you can’t afford to do that,” Christian said. “You have to take care of the basketball. And we just didn’t.

GW struggled on the offensive boards, with Saint Louis bouncing GW 14-8 off the glass. The Billikens were able to score 15 second chance points, compared to five for GW. Overall, the Billikens had a 39-30 rebounding advantage on the night, led by junior forward Francis Okoro, who had 22 points and 11 rebounds.

The return of senior forward Ricky Lindo after a 44-day absence due to COVID-19 and injury could have helped the Colonials in the rebounding department. But the DC native scored just two points and grabbed four rebounds in 22 minutes upon his return.

The Colonials saw history unfold, as sophomore Yuri Collins entered the Billikens record books, registering 12 assists tonight to become the all-time leader in the history of the Saint Louis men’s basketball with 444.

He is second in the nation in assist rate with 8.26 per game. Collins also had 11 points and five rebounds, going a perfect 5-5 from the field.

GW struggled offensively in the first half, scoring just 25 points to 42 scored in the second half. Although they found their groove in the second stanza, the Colonials offense was thwarted by the Billikens defense, which forced them to throw hard shots late in the shot clock early in the game.

The Colonials had a slow start to the second half, with Saint Louis scoring four unanswered points to start the half. Christian responded by taking a timeout 1:56 into the half to avoid further damage.

GW showed some life after that on the attacking end, but they couldn’t get the defensive saves to go along with it. By the media timeout of less than 12 minutes, the Billikens had gained 21 points and never looked back.

GW continued to have success offensively midway through the second half, thanks to impressive finishes from Bishop, sophomore guard Joe Bamasile and freshman guard Brayon Freeman, but couldn’t get close to the hitting distance.

Bamasile was GW’s second leading scorer with 18 points on an effective 8 of 14 from the floor to go along with three rebounds, a block and an assist. Freeman came alive offensively in the second half, scoring all eight of his points, while finishing with three assists, a steal and a rebound.

The Colonials’ frontcourt offense crumbled after impressing in the team’s 63-61 win over Rhode Island. Lindo was the only GW striker to get on the board, scoring two points.

Although Lindo returned from injury, the Colonials were still without second-year center Noel Brown, who was also injured. Christian said the team hopes Brown will be back for the Colonials’ next game.

“We’re going to go back to campus, we’ll kind of see where he is,” Christian said. “We were hoping to get him tonight, but he had a little setback. So I hope we will have it on Sunday.

The Colonials return to the ground Sunday for a noon warning on USA Network against Fordham. The game with the Rams begins a crucial three-game home streak that also includes games with La Salle and No. 25 Davidson.

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