Saint Joseph's fell short in its comeback attempt against George Washington, dropping a 70-64 decision In the Atlantic 10 opener for both teams at the Smith Center. James Demery scored 24 points for the Hawks (5-7; 0-1 A-10).
Yuta Watanabe led GW (8-6; 1-0 A-10) with 18 points, Jair Bolden scored 16 and Terry Nolan, Jr. had 14. Arnaldo Toro had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Saint Joseph's never led in the game but fought back from a 15-point second-half deficit, holding GW scoreless for three minutes and closing to within 63-58 with 2:02 to play on three free throws by Newkirk. But Watanabe connected on his third three-pointer of the game with 1:39 to go to build up the Colonials' lead. The Hawks again came within six, 66-60, with 1:22 left but GW ran off four straight points to put the game out of reach.
The Colonials came out at the start firing three-pointers to stake a quick 15-8 lead, while eventually increasing it to 22-10.
George Washington took its biggest lead of the half, 24-11, but the Hawks rattled off seven straight points to close to within 24-18 with 7:24 to go. A pair of threes by GW's Nolan built the Colonials' lead back to double digits but SJU trimmed it to 30-23 after a pair of free throws by Clover at 4:10. Those would be the last points of the half as both teams went cold, with GW missing its last 10 shots of the half, and the Hawks going 0-for-8, as the 30-23 score held at halftime.
GW connected on 7-of-15 threes in the first half, but cooled down in the second, making 2-of-7. The Hawks struggled from beyond the arc, hitting just 1-of-11 in the first half and a 23.5 percent effort in the game.
Saint Joseph's returns home to open the conference slate at Hagan Arena, hosting VCU on Wednesday, January 3.