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Offense Stalls, George Washington Defeated by Crosstown Rival American

(Photo courtesy of @GW_MBB)

FOGGY BOTTOM – Teams don’t win very often when they shoot 38.2% from the floor and 24.1% from three. In a crosstown rivalry game against American, George Washington fell just short of grinding out a victory, losing 69-64 in the final seconds. 

American went into this game winners of six straight, including an upset over another local rival, Georgetown. The Eagles are looking like contenders to compete for the Patriot League title and an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

The struggles started in the first half, where GW was only able to score 24 points. They went 1-12 on threes, only were able to assist two of their field goals, and were out-rebounded 20-14. Noel Brown, who got the start over an injured Hunter Dean, was pulled with about nine minutes left in the half after picking up his second foul. With Brown out of the game, American was able to operate more freely in the paint and control the glass. Despite the lack of offensive output, GW was able to keep the game close, going into halftime with the score 30-24 behind their dominant defense. 

GW’s offense picked up a little more in the second half, but still struggled to find any sort of rhythm or consistency. Brown once again found himself in foul trouble, picking up his fourth foul and earning him a trip to the bench with eight minutes left in the game. After a hectic final two minutes that included multiple instances of American failing to inbound the ball, a foul on a three point attempt, and some controversial calls by the officials, GW was unable to pull off the comeback.

“We were definitely creating shots, they just weren’t falling,” Ricky Lindo said after the game.

Lindo led the charge on both ends of the floor, ending the game with 18 points, along with a game high nine rebounds, three blocks, and two steals. James Bishop also had 14 points and seven assists, and Brendan Adams contributed 12 points. Despite finishing with some points to their names, Bishop and Adams were both very inefficient today. 

“It’s going to be hard if they [Bishop and Adams] go 7-25,” said GW head coach Chris Caputo. “Especially with Hunter [Dean] out, it’s going to be hard for us.”

Bishop and Adams have both been critical to GW’s success this year. Before today, Bishop was seventh in the country in scoring, averaging 22.3 points per game. Adams has been the team’s primary ball handler, and was scoring 17.4 points per game as well as providing elite on ball defense. They’ve also rarely sat, with Adams ranking third in the country in the percentage of minutes played, and Bishop not far behind at 26th. 

“It’s a worry,” said Caputo when asked about Bishop and Adams’ heavy workload. “If you had an easy solution I’d choose it, I just don’t know if I have an easy one. They’re going to have to play high minutes.”

Caputo also made the first non-injury related change to his starting lineup this year, opting to go smaller and switch backup point guard E.J. Clark in for redshirt freshman Max Edwards. Clark played well in his starting role, tying the team high in +/- with +8 and contributing five points in 21 minutes. Edwards struggled in his first collegiate appearance off the bench, often looking lethargic and finishing with a game low -13.

When asked about his decision to start Clark over Edwards, Caputo failed to clarify what the reasoning was behind the change, saying, “Just a choice. I get to make a few choices in life, who starts is one of them.”

In what many GW fans would consider the highlight of a disappointing game, a dog that would later be featured in the halftime show ran onto the court during the opening minutes, giving Lindo and Assistant Coach Zak Boisvert quite the scare.

“Absolutely not, that’s really a first,” said Caputo after being asked if he had ever seen a dog on the court during a game. “I have a dog so I wasn’t that scared, Ricky seemed very scared.”

GW will be back when they face another local rival in Coppin State on Tuesday at 6:00 PM as the second leg of a double header, where the women will be playing at 3:00 PM. Both games can be found on ESPN+ and WRGW.