Recap: Neither George Washington nor Massachusetts showed much inclination for making free throws. That truth remained throughout the entire 40 minutes of Saturday's Atlantic 10 clash. The Minutemen eventually cobbled together enough makes while the Colonials missed too many in the final minutes. GW's unblemished home record fell as a result.
Patricio Garino scored 20 points and Isaiah Armwood had 16 as George Washington lost to UMass 67-61 for its first two-game losing streak of the season. The Colonials (19-6, 7-4) entered with a 12-0 record at the Smith Center and outside hopes of a conference regular season title. Both ended in the lone planned meeting with the Minutemen (20-5, 7-4), who lost to George Mason earlier this week.
Sampson Carter, one of several Minutemen hampered by foul trouble much of the second half, scored 20 points and Derrick Gordon had 11. UMass finished a woeful 12 of 26 from the free throw line, but made 8 of 12 over the final 3:30.
GW ended slightly better overall at 13 of 21, but split a pair of attempts on its final three trips to the free throw line, each with a chance to take the lead or tie UMass before the second home sell out of the season. Trailing 62-61, the Colonials never scored again after Armwood's errant attempt with 35 seconds left as GW failed to reach 20 wins for the first time since 2007.
Turning points: The Colonials trailed by 11 midway through the second half and 49-41 when Player of the Year candidate Chaz Williams, who had eight points, picked up his fourth foul. By the time the point guard returned, the Colonials rallied back to 55-54 with 6:57 left on one of Garino's many creative layups and thanks to their ability to push the pace. The lead changed hands several times from there until Trey Davis, fouled by Maurice Creek while shooting a 3-pointer, made two free throws for a 61-59 lead with 3:30 remaining.
Big misses: With UMass able to match their size, the interior tandem of Kevin Larsen and Armwood went 8 of 25 from the field. GW shot 36.7 percent overall.
Garino: For much of the game GW's production and spark on both ends came from the 6-foot-6 swingman. Continuing his recent statistical boost, Garino made 8 of 15 shots from the floor with three steals, two blocks. Over his last five games, Garino is averaging 18 points on 61 percent shooting.
1st half: Stop Williams, stop UMass is a universal game plan for opposing teams. So when the 5-foot-9 playmaker sat with two fouls and his side up 19-18 with 7:48 remaining in the first half, the Colonials had a chance to make a move. Instead, the Minutemen went on a 13-4 run for a 32-22 lead with 2:58 left. However, true to its season form, GW rallied by scoring the final seven points of the half, five by Garino.
They said it: "I thought the game was lost again at the free throw line. We went to the line three times in a row. We went 1 of 2 three times in a row.
Odds and ends: WIlliams and Carter both played with four fouls for the final 10:30, but neither picked up a fifth. ...The Colonials had won 13 straight overall at home. ...Including the Minutemen, who were ranked No. 13 in the AP poll earlier this season, five of GW's six losses have come against ranked foes.
On deck: The Colonials play two straight on the road, starting with the Richmond Spiders on Tuesday (7 p.m., NBCSN).