George Washington held off a tenacious Fordham team to win 53-49 in the first round of the A10 Men’s Basketball Championship. GW was led by junior forward Ricky Lindo jr (pictured above) who finished with game highs 21 points and 14 rebounds. Fordham was paced by Joel Soriano who finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 2 blocks.
GW advances to the second round where they will face George Mason at 5:30pm.
Ricky Lindo Jr did it all for George Washington in their first round win over Fordham and the Colonials needed every bit of his production. Lindo Jr defended multiple positions throughout the game effectively, scored inside and out as well as through hustle plays. He rebounded like a man possessed and helped neutralize Fordham's sophomore beast in the middle Joel Soriano from completely owning the boards and he stepped up and hit clutch free throws with two seconds left to ice the game for GW. For the Colonials to continue to advance, their Swiss Army knife forward needs to maintain this level of production. The great news for George Washington is he’s fully capable of doing so.
Jamison Battle didn’t have his customary offensive explosion shooting the ball, however, he hit some timely shots throughout the game to stop Fordham runs and to give GW the lead. Sophomore sniper also did a good of defending and crashing the boards in his own right. Battle posted 17 points and 4 rebounds on 7-15 shooting from the field and 3-10 from 3-point range, one of which came in the clutch with 40 seconds left to give the Colonials a 51-49 lead. Shooters shoot and you can expect Battle to continue to do exactly that.
Joel Soriano owned the paint. George Washington’s front court couldn’t do anything with the Rams 6’11 center when he established position on the block or deep inside the paint where he scored at will (5-6 FG). He also rebounded well and was a big presence inside defensively where he blocked two shots and altered many more from GW when they decided to challenge him. Soriano has all conference potential and as he continues to improve, especially if Fordham surrounds him with better guard play over the next two years, he and the Rams could be a dominant force in the A10.
Fordham's team defense was outstanding and it’s what allowed them to battle back from a early 11 point deficit and make it a winnable game. They pressured and swarmed GW, holding the Colonials to 37.7 percent shooting from the field and 22.2 percent shooting from deep, while locking in on A10 leading scorer James Bishop all game, holding the scoring machine to 9 points on 4-12 shooting from the field. The Rams struggle to score efficiently so they had to make defense their identity late in the season. The change in identity nearly pulled off an upset in the first round. No one is sure what will happen with interim head coach Michael DePaoli, although, from what I saw in this game against GW, how hard they played for him, I feel they should removed the interim tag and make it official sooner then later.