- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 5, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) - You wouldn’t know it from the commanding final score, but the scene inside George Washington’s locker room at halftime wasn’t pretty.

Duquesne closed the first half on a 19-6 run, deflating what was a double-digit lead for the Colonials.

Head coach Mike Lonergan wasn’t having it.

“That was probably really the first halftime I really kind of went off a little bit,” Lonergan said. “I’m trying to be a lot more positive because we have a mature team and an experienced team, but that was definitely disappointing. To be up 19 at home, and we kind of blew it because of some breakdowns.”

Whatever he said, it worked. George Washington continued its undefeated streak at home Wednesday night, taking down Duquesne 71-57.

It was a bounce-back victory for the Colonials (18-4, 6-2 Atlantic 10) after falling at Dayton last week. The Dukes (10-11, 2-6), meanwhile, lost their second straight.

Patricio Garino scored 17 points, Nemanja Mikic added 11 points for George Washington and Isaiah Armwood posted his eighth double-double of the season with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Kevin Larsen rounded out George Washington’s double-digit scorers, with 13 points.

“For me, Patricio had a lot of assists for me where he was driving and I was getting in position. Just uncontested layups,” Larsen said. “And I think the same goes for (Armwood), so Patricio and all the other guys really drove and created easy shots for me and Isaiah.”

Dominique McKoy led the way for Duquesne with 14 points, Ovie Soko had 13 and Micah Mason 11.

Joe McDonald and Maurice Creek returned after missing the Colonials’ last outing with a hip injury and illness, respectively. McDonald had six of George Washington’s 23 assists but Creek was quiet, possibly hampered by lingering illness.

Still, just the physical presence of the two guards was important for George Washington, Lonergan said, talking up the mental boost it gave the rest of his roster.

“I think it helps a lot, I think it helps with some of our role players, it kind of takes the pressure off them,” Lonergan said. “Just to see those guys.”

George Washington scored early and often in the first, including a stretch of play that saw the Colonials drain four back-to-back 3’s.

But Duquesne would not go quietly, using their sizeable run over the closing stretch of the half to enter the break down just six points. That offensive spurt was paced largely by Mason, the only player to reach double-digits before the break.

“It kind of gave them momentum, and we were only up six. So that was definitely disappointing,” Lonergan said. “But I thought we did a pretty good job in the second half. I mean, we didn’t shoot as well from threes and we definitely struggled from the free throw line, but our inside guys played another strong game.”

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