WASHINGTON, D.C. — George Washington used a commanding first-half run to nab a 69-47 victory over La Salle Wednesday night.
The win kept head coach Mike Lonergan and the Colonials (17-3, 5-1 A-10) undefeated at home, and tied their longest A-10 win streak since the 2006-07 season.
Isaiah Armwood added his sixth double-double of the season with 16 points and 14 rebounds, which tied his career- and season-high. Maurice Creek had 15 points for the Colonials, Kevin Larsen added 15 points and eight boards and Patricio Garino had ten points and seven rebounds of his own.
Tyreek Duren paced La Salle (11-9, 3-3 A-10) with 22 points, but no other Explorer scored in double-digits. Tyrone Garland, their leading scorer, went just 1-14.
The game wasn’t without a tarnished edge for the Colonials. Point guard Joe McDonald exited the court before the first half ended, and didn’t play for the rest of the game.
He sat on the bench with his left leg fully extended, shifting gingerly in obvious discomfort. Lonergan said at halftime it was due to a hip injury that’s plagued McDonald since high school.
Wednesday night’s opening minutes were stagnant. With George Washington committing a series of turnovers and La Salle’s relatively cold shooting, the lead swapped five times before the tempo of the game changed.
A little over midway through the first, the Colonials switched their defense into a 1-3-1 zone. With that rotation, they effectively unraveled La Salle’s offense for the rest of the half.
The Explorers entered a scoring drought that threatened to stretch until halftime, and George Washington exploded out on a decisive scoring run. The final tally was 19 unanswered Colonial points - the same amount of points that La Salle had, in total, before scoring its first points in seven minutes and 26 seconds of play.
Turnovers and shooting struggles became the story of La Salle’s game. The Explorers couldn’t make much happen offensively Wednesday night, shooting just 27.3 percent.
The Colonials, meanwhile, turned in a consistently hot-shooting performance. Their dominant performance in the first continued into the second, the team unshaken by the loss of McDonald.
Off the hot-handed performance of four double-figure shooters, the Colonials posted a 52.4 shooting percentage on the night, padding that with an 42-30 advantage on the boards. George Washington’s length and size kept La Salle from forming any kind of inside game, earning a 30-16 margin in points in the paint.
The Colonials next head to Dayton Feb. 1, while La Salle hosts Duquense Saturday.