Down one point with just 2.2 seconds left in overtime, George Washington’s star guard James Bishop was fouled on a three pointer, and calmly made all three free throws as GW squeaked by St. Bonaventure 83-81.
JAMES BISHOP IS FOULED AND SHOOTING THREE pic.twitter.com/VlKpnQa19g
— David Korn (@david_korn4) February 19, 2023
“We really wanted to win this game,” said Bishop. “I went to the line, stuck to my routine, and made the shots.”
After Bishop’s free throws, GW now is undefeated (3-0) in games that have gone to overtime this season.
“I think it’s a veteran group that has great attitudes,” said GW Head Coach Chris Caputo. “Obviously we have two guards like James [Bishop] and Brendan [Adams], you can keep the ball in their hands late game and they’ll make good decisions.”
It took a frantic St. Bonaventure comeback to even get the game to overtime. GW led by as many as 18 points, and was up 11 with just over two minutes left in the second half. At the end of regulation, the Bonnies took advantage of a chaotic sequence and sophomore guard Kyrell Luc nailed a mid range jumper that tied the game at 72.
Kyrell Luc nails the jumper to tie the game with .5 seconds left. pic.twitter.com/DPk0iakagF
— David Korn (@david_korn4) February 19, 2023
Caputo was asked what allowed the Bonnies to come back and tie the game.
“I think you gotta give some credit to their shotmaking,” said Caputo. “Against pressure for us, we need to continue to do a better job against the press and trapping.”
For GW, the biggest performers were once again Bishop and grad guard Brendan Adams. Adams led all scorers with 28 points, along with seven rebounds and four assists. Bishop scored 25, and also dished out a game high eight assists.
Bishop and Adams are continuing to dominate this year. Bishop currently sits at the top of the conference averaging 21.2 points and 3rd with 5.0 assists, while Adams has made his way all the way up to fourth in the A-10 averaging 17.2 points. Beyond their counting stats, they’ve also played exceptionally well during tight, late game situations. That was put on display when GW was down by four with 27 seconds left in overtime, and Adams hit a tough three which led to Bishop being able to steal the game at the line after drawing a foul.
“I think the GW community really has to look at this as really one of the great duos in the school’s history this year,” said Caputo.
This was an especially meaningful game for Adams, who’s brother, Jaylen, was one of the best players in St. Bonaventure’s history, winning co-Atlantic 10 player of the year and leading the Bonnies to an upset over UCLA in the NCAA Tournament in 2018.
Beyond Bishop and Adams, the rest of GW’s starting lineup: Redshirt freshman wing Max Edwards, senior forward Ricky Lindo, and senior forward Hunter Dean, all stepped up and provided much needed contributions all throughout the game.
Following his fourth A-10 rookie of the week selection, Edwards was just a point away from a double double, netting nine points and hauling in an impressive 15 rebounds, along with four assists. Edwards’ biggest highlight of the game was when he got out in transition following a steal from Bishop, and coolly converted a 360˚ dunk.
Max Edwards dunk for those of you that missed it pic.twitter.com/ASn7kcZmSE
— Ryan Puleo (@RyanPuleo3) February 19, 2023
Lindo notched his fourth double double of the season, scoring 10 points and grabbing 10 boards. He also came away with two steals, including one on the final play of overtime to lock up the win for GW.
Dean scored eight points, including two long mid range jumpers. Dean also attempted a rare three point shot. The two mid range makes and the lack of hesitation to fire away from deep could show that Dean is becoming comfortable with his outside shot, and opposing defenses having to worry about that from him could be a key to bringing GW’s already potent scoring attack to another level.
Caputo was asked about his jumpers, and spoke about how before the season, they discussed Dean incorporating some outside shots into the game plan, and was very happy to see a few go in.
For most of the game, GW’s defense really shone, with Caputo implementing a zone and locking down the Bonnies’ scorers. In the first half, St. Bonaventure scored just 21 points, shooting 24.2% from the floor and 8.3% from deep. While the zone wasn’t necessarily forcing a lot of turnovers, St. Bonaventure just could not put the ball in the basket.
“We were worried about their big encyclopedia of set plays,” said Caputo. “It felt like the best thing to do for our team was to switch defenses.”
Before allowing the Bonnies to come back in the final minutes, this was looking like GW’s most complete team performance since they dismantled South Carolina earlier in the season.
A special guest was in attendance at the Reilly Center. Incoming GW President Ellen Grandberg and her wife, Sonya, made the drive from Rochester, where Granberg is currently serving as the provost of Rochester Institute of Technology. Grandberg greeted the team after their win and gave a rousing postgame speech.
Postgame speech from the one and only President-Elect Granberg! #RaiseHigh pic.twitter.com/fUwoGgVg8o
— GW Men's Basketball (@GW_MBB) February 19, 2023
“It’s just great to have the leadership of the university be so supportive of our program,” said Caputo. “We have some momentum in athletics in terms of some of the future success we can have with strong leadership and belief in athletics.”
GW now finds themselves out of the “pillow fight” and in eighth place in the conference. With four games remaining, GW has their work cut out for them if they want to stay out of the bottom six.
Next up, GW travels to Kingston to take on Rhode Island on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. Last week, URI dismissed sophomore guard Brayon Freeman, who transferred within the conference from GW. GW fans were very excited about the potential to face Freeman, but obviously will not get the chance to anymore. That game can be watched on ESPN+ and listened to on WRGW.