GW Tips Off 2012 & Atlantic 10 Play at St. Bona on Wednesday
Jan. 3, 2012
WHO: George Washington Men's Basketball (5-8, 0-0)
ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. - George Washington men's basketball embarks on its first road trip in nearly a month with a visit to St. Bonaventure on Wednesday in the Atlantic 10 Conference opener for both teams.
The Colonials, who play three of their next four games on the road, will continue on to St. Louis to face the Saint Louis Billikens on Saturday night in the opening week of A-10 play for the team and first-year head coach Mike Lonergan. Of those three upcoming road games, all will be against teams with winning records and two will be against teams getting votes in both national polls - arv/arv Saint Louis and #22/21 Harvard.
GW (5-8, 0-0 A-10) snapped a seven-game losing skid with a 77-59 triumph over Delaware State on New Year's Eve in its final non-conference home game of the season. Senior Tony Taylor reached 20 points to the first time since his CBE Classic MVP performance in November to lead the Colonials. Junior Lasan Kromah posted another solid all-around game with 15 points, five rebounds, five assists, three blocks and three steals, senior Jabari Edwards posted career-highs of 11 points and nine rebounds, and freshman John Kopriva netted 10. GW broke open the game with a 16-0 run early in the second half and enjoyed an 18-0 edge in fast-break points.
GW has won its last two and six of its last seven A-10 openers, including a 78-71 victory over St. Bona at Reilly Center nearly two years ago. The Colonials hit 9-of-14 threes behind then-rookie Lasan Kromah's five 3-pointers and 23 points in that victory over the Bonnies. GW has won four straight in the Reilly Center to improve to 10-15 all-time in the building and leads the series, 31-23, entering the 55th all-time meeting.
GW had its seven-game overall series win streak and 14-game home win streak over St. Bonaventure snapped with a 62-49 loss to SBU at Charles E. Smith Center last Jan. 22. The Colonials shot just 30.8 percent with a season-low 16 field goals in that loss.
Juniors Lasan Kromah and David Pellom have proven to be consistent producers over GW's last six games:
The Colonials have proven to be a second-half team so far this season, on average scoring 6.3 more points (27.8/34.1) while shooting 9.3 percentage points higher (36.8/46.1) over the final 20 minutes through 13 games.
St. Bonaventure (7-5, 0-0 A-10), which was picked to finish fourth in the A-10 preseason poll after an 8-8 mark in 2010-11, has won two straight and four of its last five games to improve to 7-5 in the non-conference portion of its schedule. SBU is 4-1 at the Reilly Center this year and 14-6 at its home arena the last two seasons, including a 6-2 home league mark in 2010-11.
Three of the Bonnies' five losses have come against BCS conference programs in Virginia Tech, Illinois and North Carolina State. GW shared one common non-conference opponent with SBU in Loyola (Md.), with the Colonials suffering a 65-55 loss to the Greyhounds, while the Bonnies posted a 76-66 win at home in the Reilly Center.
Preseason First Team All-Atlantic 10 pick Andrew Nicholson leads the Bonnies in scoring (14.3 ppg), rebounding (6.9 rpg) and blocked shots (17) while playing just 28.8 minutes per outing. Demitrius Conger is the lone other Bonnies player to average double figures with 13.9 points per game.
Conger posted a 27-point, 11-rebound double-double - his first of the season and fifth of his career - to lead SBU to a 72-70 victory at Niagara in its most recent outing on Dec. 30. Nicholson scored nine points, but fouled out for the second time this season in just 15 minutes.
SBU has been hit with two season-ending injuries this season with reserve Michael Davenport out for the year with a shoulder injury and Marquise Simmons tearing his achilles two minutes into the season-opener against Cornell.