Within a span of 2 minutes, 16 seconds at the start of the second half Saturday, everything that Hofstra had worked so hard for -- a three-point halftime lead -- went down the drain.

A missed shot here, a turnover there, two steals that were converted into George Washington baskets.

By the time the Pride players caught their breath, they were staring at a seven-point deficit en route to a 69-58 non-conference men's basketball loss at Mack Sports Complex.

"I just said to the team: I feel that we didn't embrace the opportunity that we had," Hofstra coach Joe Mihalich said. "I don't think we played particularly well in the first half . . . but we had this team back on their heels a little bit."

The Pride (3-8) enjoyed a 32-29 halftime advantage before GW (11-1) outscored the hosts 12-2 to grab a 41-34 lead.

"We can't allow that to happen," Mihalich said. "They scored 29 points in 20 minutes and then come out and score 12 points in 2:16. A lot of that was us. It was not them."

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Hofstra guard Dion Nesmith, who scored 17 points, called it "a lack of concentration."

"We missed assignments," he said. "We let their guys get open shots. I let their best player get open and we just weren't good enough with the ball."

After Colonials guard Kethan Savage converted a three-point play for a 32-32 tie, Maurice Creek (who scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half) stole the ball from Jordan Allen for a layup.

After a basket by Hofstra's Jamall Robinson, Creek sank a three-pointer, Kevin Larsen hit a layup and Creek took the ball away from Zeke Upshaw (11 points) for another layup. Mihalich called a timeout, but the damage had been done.

"It sort of went downhill from there," Upshaw said.

GW produced more defensive pressure in the second half, forcing nine steals and five more turnovers.

"We talked about it at halftime," Mihalich said. "Expect a different team. They're going to get more physical, get tougher and we didn't respond . . . Instead of being the hammer, we were the nail."

Nesmith, in his second game back from a leg injury, struggled in the second half. He was 5-for-8 from the field in the first, 2-for-8 in the second.

"I don't think it was anything they did," he said. "They did turn some pressure. But the shots that I missed, I was open."

Despite a slow start to the season, Mihalich is optimistic.

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"It would have been a great, great win if we could have pulled this off," he said in light of GW's early position as one of the top teams in the Atlantic 10. "We're still a work in progress . . . We could be a team that could surprise everybody in this league [Colonial Athletic Association]."