(Photo courtesy of Greg Fiume)
FOGGY BOTTOM – After starting out conference play on a scorching pace, going 5-2 and upsetting preseason favorite Dayton, George Washington has hit a wall. They’ve only won once in their past six games, and Wednesday’s loss to George Mason may have been the most disappointing, with GW scoring a season low 53 points.
GW’s A-10 leading offense, led by James Bishop and backcourt mate Brendan Adams, has been their calling card this season. George Mason’s defense completely stifled them.
“They were really trying to take away the three point shots,” said Bishop. “Coach came in ahead of time, told us to really attack the paint.”
For the first time all season, GW only had one double digit scorer, with James Bishop carrying the offense with a game high 23 points.
“I think they really tried to play the pick and roll two on two,” said Bishop. “They took a lot of the shooters away on the weak side so there wasn’t a lot of help and opportunities for us to kick [out].”
GW especially struggled in the first half, going 12:24 without scoring a field goal and ending the frame with just 20 points. However, they were still very much in the game, as George Mason was not having much more success on the offensive end, only scoring 26 of their own.
“Usually if you play defense that well in the first half you’d be in better shape offensively,” said GW Head Coach Chris Caputo. “We had to claw our way back.”
Once the second half started, both teams started to wake up. Bishop continued to be the focal point of GW’s offense, but he got a little bit of help from Adams, and senior forward Ricky Lindo, as GW took the lead with 7:28 left in the game.
After that, George Mason went to their star, senior forward Josh Oduro, who repeatedly got to his spots in the mid-range and made contested shot after shot. Oduro ended the night leading the Patriots with 19 points and 12 rebounds.
“He [Oduro] didn’t score really in the post area or in the elbow area like he did in the first game, it was more in the zone,” said Caputo. “He winds up in the mid-post in the zone and those shots are tough shots… that’s why he’s a really good player.”
Another bright spot for George Mason was freshman guard Justyn Fernandez, who set a career high in 3 pointers, shooting 5-7 from behind the arc. Fernandez ended with 15 points, all coming from deep.
GW is running out of time to turn their season around and put themselves in a position to succeed in the A-10 tournament in Brooklyn. They are currently in 10th, which places them in the infamous pillow fight between the bottom six teams in the conference.
Next up, GW faces the tall task of traveling to St. Bonaventure, where they’ll play the Bonnies on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. That game can be seen on USA Network.