Friars end GW’s streak

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. — George Washington men’s basketball coach Karl Hobbs picked the wrong guy to call out.

Ray Hall made sure of that in Providence’s 86-67 victory at Dunkin’ Donuts Center as the seldom-used backup center scored eight consecutive points to ignite a 15-0 second-half run for the Friars.

“I heard [Hobbs] say coming out of a timeout that I couldn’t score and not to worry about me,” Hall said. “It really upset me and definitely motivated me. I think he knows who I am now.”

The loss ended a 22-game regular-season winning streak, the nation’s longest, for GW (4-1). Providence is 3-1.

“The story to this game was simple,” Hobbs said. “Providence would shoot, miss, rebound and then score. They dominated us inside, period.”

After Travis King’s 3-pointer gave the Colonials a six-point lead with 12:27 to play, Providence’s Jonathan Kale made a jump shot, and then Hall scored the next four baskets. The 6-foot-11 Hall finished with 12 points and three rebounds (all offensive).

“I don’t know much about Ray Hall,” Hobbs conceded afterward. “All I know is he is some guy who had a couple of rebounds.”

GW’s starters also appeared to know little about Hall, who repeatedly found an opening on the low block. His four consecutive baskets came off open passes to the low post. He was fouled on two of those four field goals, missing both free throw attempts.

“Certainly what Ray did was special,” Providence coach Tim Welsh said. “He can probably make a fair share of outside jumpers if we asked him, but he knows his role is to provide a strong defensive presence in the paint.”

Maureece Rice led GW with 15 points, nine from behind the 3-point line. Noel Wilmore and Regis Koundjia each added 13 for the Colonials.

The teams reverted to more physical play in the second half as each pounded the ball into the low post. Both teams were whistled for technical fouls with 14 minutes to play after the Colonials’ Koundjia and the Friars’ Kale exchanged shoves following a loose ball.

The confrontation ignited the Friars, while GW abandoned its attempts to find shots inside, instead rushing the ball up the floor and firing from behind the arc.

“They were stronger than us,” Hobbs said. “We didn’t fight for loose balls and allowed them to really hurt us inside. It’s going to be an issue all year until our inside guys decide to play tougher.”

The Colonials attempted 24 3-pointers, making 69 percent in the first half but hitting only three of 11 (27 percent) after the break.

The competitive first half featured 14 lead changes and seven ties as neither team managed more than a five-point lead. The Colonials held a 41-40 halftime edge.

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