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Bishop Outduels Holmes, GW Takes Down Dayton 76-69

(Photo courtesy of Mitchell Layton)

FOGGY BOTTOM – In what was undoubtedly their most impressive win of the season so far, George Washington comfortably took down preseason favorite Dayton 76-69 behind a signature James Bishop offensive masterclass and a dominant team defensive and rebounding effort. 

Bishop led the way for GW, scoring 27 points and dishing out eight assists, both game highs. He also shot an efficient 10-19, and only committed three turnovers. His most impressive shot came early in the first half, where he dribbled to the baseline and nailed a rainbow jumper over the backboard as the shot clock expired.

All game, Dayton threw doubles at Bishop to try and slow him down, but every time they did, Bishop calmly passed out, finding his teammates for open threes and dunks. 


“Recognizing coverages, how they played me, teams are going to try and get the ball out of my hands,” said Bishop. “It’s pivotal to make passes out of those coverages.” 

One of the key storylines going into the game was the matchup between Bishop and Dayton’s sophomore forward DaRon Holmes, both of who are considered some of the favorites to win the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. Holmes went into the game averaging 18.6 points and 8.0 rebounds, which were both 3rd in the A-10, and shooting 60.4% from the field. Bishop had 21.7 points, which is the best in the A-10 and tied for sixth in the country, 5.2 assists, which is third in the A-10. 

Bishop clearly came out on top this time, with Holmes only scoring 14 points on a paltry 5-15 from the field. 

GW went into their matchup with Holmes trying to to be as disruptive as possible and not wanting him to see the same type of defensive coverage too often. 

“We brought doubles to him early,” said GW head coach Chris Captuo. “Some of the stuff about doubling people is that it’s more of a rhythm thing… try and keep them off balance.” 

Not only did Bishop assert himself as the current frontrunner for A-10 Player of the Year, he also put himself on the radar of the 18 NBA and other professional scouts in attendance. They were there mostly to see Holmes, Dayton junior forward Toumani Camara, and Dayton freshman guard/forward Mike Sharavjamts, but Bishop, who was clearly the best player on the floor tonight, stole the show. 

“I try not to worry about that, I worry about George Washington and trying to get us wins,” said Bishop in response to a question about playing in front of scouts. 

There is a growing feeling that Bishop has a legitimate chance at playing in the NBA in the near future. When asked about his performance today, Caputo compared Bishop’s decision making and passing to his former player at Miami, Shane Larkin. Larkin was drafted 18th overall in 2013, played four very solid years in the NBA, most recently as a key rotation piece with the Boston Celtics in 2017-18 when they were just one win away from the NBA finals. 

Bishop has another year of eligibility, but has yet to make a decision about whether he will return to GW, transfer, or pursue a professional career. 

Other key performances today for GW came from grad guard Brendan Adams and freshman wing Max Edwards. 

Adams scored 18 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and contributed three assists. Adams also went 11-12 from the free throw line, making sure Dayton never got too close during their frantic end of game comeback attempt. 

Edwards started off the game very hot, scoring 13 of his 15 total points in the first half, helping make sure GW went into the break with a 14 point lead, up 36-22. 

“I’m playing with the two best guards in the A-10,” said Edwards. “I know they’re going to find me.”

Edwards continued to be a force in the rebounding game, grabbing six of his own and doing a lot of the dirty work to allow others, like Adams and senior forward Ricky Lindo, to be effective on the glass. 

GW out-rebounded Dayton 39-35, improving to 9-1 on the season when they won the rebounding battle. This aspect of the game was especially impressive, as the Flyers went into the game averaging over four more rebounds per game than GW, and featured two of the conference’s best rebounders in Holmes and Camara.

One of the main concerns for GW so far this season has been their defense. They went into this game allowing the 3rd most points per game in the conference at 72.9. Their performance against Dayton was the first time in conference play they held a team to under 70 points. 

“We’ve been trying to get better defensively every day,” said Caputo. “You can play as fast as your defense allows. For us, we’ve had incremental improvements in moments… It’s going to give you a chance most nights if you’re a team that can defend.”

Caputo stressed how much he has been working with his team on their defending, going as far as saying that they spend 80% of their practice time working on that end of the floor. If Caputo has unlocked something and can turn GW into at least an average defensive team, their high powered offense should have no problems scoring enough points to consistently win games comfortably. 

GW played in front of their biggest crowd yet, with a significant amount of Dayton fans, what was likely the DMV’s entire Mongolian community who were there to support Sharavjamts, the first Mongolian D-1 basketball player, and George’s Army. GW and Dayton fans got into more than a few back and forths throughout the game, including competing cheers of “G-Dub” and “Let’s Go Flyers,” some spirited conversations after controversial calls, and an especially ruthless “F*ck Ohio” chant. 

“It was a long winter break,” said Edwards after being asked about the crowd. 

This game was GW’s first at home in front of fans with classes in session since they hosted Coppin State on Dec. 13. 

GW has made it through the toughest part of their schedule, and now sit at 4-2 and in fourth place in the A-10. While it is still over a month away, they are currently in position for the coveted double-bye in the conference tournament. Going forward, the most difficult tests GW will face are hosting Richmond and VCU. Barring a long term injury to Bishop or Adams, GW is looking like a bona fide contender for the A-10 regular season title, and is shaping up to be a team no one will want to face in Brooklyn. 

Edwards was asked whether he thinks GW can win the A-10. His response?

“100%, I don’t see why anyone in our locker room doesn’t think we can.”

GW will hit the court again on Wednesday when they host Saint Josephs. That game will tip off at 7:00 PM, and can be seen on ESPN+ and listened to on WRGW.