La Salle loses A-10 opener

WASHINGTON - La Salle could not overcome slow starts to begin both halves in a 72-67 loss to George Washington Wednesday night at the Charles E. Smith Center.

La Salle (7-9, 0-1 Atlantic Ten) led by one at halftime, but a 15-6 run by George Washington to start the second half gave the Colonials an eight-point lead. The Colonials (8-6, 1-0) began the game with an 11-2 run.

After falling behind by as many as eight in the second half, the Explorers fought back thanks to solid outside shooting from junior guard Earl Pettis, who hit three three-pointers in four minutes midway through the second half to tie the score.

But the Explorers were unable to take the lead and did not have an answer for Colonials guard Tony Taylor, who scored a career-high 27 points. Tayor showcased his ability to hit outside shots, driving layups and free throws to give the Colonials their third straight victory.

Taylor's biggest shot came with less than three minutes remaining as he connected on a long three with the shot clock winding down for a five-point lead.

La Salle came into the game as one of the top shooting teams in the Atlantic Ten, shooting 48 percent from the field, but the Explorers struggled on Wednesday, shooting just 38 percent. George Washington trapped often in the half court from zone and man-to-man defenses.

Explorers forward Jerrell Williams had averaged nearly 20 points in his last seven games, but Williams struggled, hitting just 2 of 12 shots. He was called for a technical foul late in the second half before eventually fouling out with 10 points.

La Salle missed its first seven shots to open the game before Williams scored on a layup to cut the George Washington lead to 11-5. The Explorers lacked energy in the early going and were consistently beaten on the offensive glass, leading to extra possessions for the Colonials and eight second-chance points in the half.

After being down 11-3 early, the Explorers went on an 11-2 run to take a 14-13 lead

The Colonials built their edge back to seven points at 24-17, but La Salle regained the lead, this time thanks to outside shooting. Pettis hit two three-pointers in a 15-0 run in the first half, which gave the Explorers a 32-24 lead. George Washington cut the deficit to one at 35-34 on a runner in the lane by Taylor to end the half.