GW Men's Hoops Opens Atlantic 10 Play at La Salle on NBCSN
arv/arv GW (12-2, 0-0) at La Salle (7-6, 0-0) | Gola Arena | Thursday, Jan. 9 | 8 p.m. | NBCSN
Jan. 7, 2014
WHO: GW Men's Basketball (12-2, 0-0)
PHILADELPHIA - After a record non-conference portion of its schedule, GW men's basketball embarks on Atlantic 10 play on Thursday with a trip to La Salle. The contest will be broadcast nationally on NBCSN, the first of eight national broadcasts and 14 televised games for the Colonials during conference play.
GW posted a 12-2 mark during non-conference play, setting a new school mark for non-league victories since joining the A-10 in 1976, highlighted by a program-best five victories over teams from power conferences (Miami (Fla.), Creighton, Rutgers, Maryland, Georgia).
The Colonials concluded non-conference play on Friday with a 73-55 rout of the SEC's Georgia Bulldogs at the Charles E. Smith Center, moving to 7-0 at home this season and winning their eighth consecutive home game. The Colonials were led by a trio of double-digit scorers in sophomore Kethan Savage (18), graduate student Maurice Creek (15) and sophomore Patricio Garino, who finished with season-highs of 12 points and six rebounds. GW held Georgia to its lowest offensive output of non-conference play for the second straight season.
Balance continues to be GW's recipe for success this season with the consistent frontcourt tandem of senior Isaiah Armwood and sophomore Kevin Larsen and improved backcourt of Creek, Savage and sophomore Joe McDonald.
Armwood and Larsen combine for 21.2 points and 13.1 rebounds per game, while Armwood is second in the A-10 with 2.6 blocks per game and eighth all-time with 105 blocks at GW.
Creek is among the top comeback stories of the year in college basketball, leading GW in scoring (16.0 ppg) and three-point shooting (37 threes, 42.5%), while Savage is among the most improved players in the conference and nation, averaging a league-best +11.0 points per game over last season and one of three A-10 players to rank in the top 15 in the league in scoring (14.1 ppg), assists (2.6 apg) and steals (1.9 spg). McDonald averages 8.4 points and 5.0 rebounds per game and is in the top seven in the A-10 in steals (3rd, 2.0 spg), assists (7th, 4.3 apg) and assist-to-turnover ratio (6th, 2.2:1).
GW owns a 20-14 all-time record against La Salle and will look to snap a four-game skid in the series, most recently an 84-70 defeat at Tom Gola Arena last March 6. The Explorers swept last season's series with an 80-71 victories at the Smith Center despite Isaiah Armwood averaging a near double-double of 17.5 points and 9.5 rebounds in the two meetings.
GW Coach Mike Lonergan (412 all-time wins) trails only La Salle's Dr. John Giannini (447) on the list of the A-10's winningest active head coaches. Lonergan and Giannini met once prior to their tenures in the A-10 - as coaches at Division III powers Catholic and Rowan, respectively. Lonergan led Catholic to a 92-88 upset of then No. 1-ranked and eventual D-III national champion Rowan - then coached by Giannini - on Jan. 15, 1996.
Picked to finish third in the A-10 preseason poll, La Salle went 7-6 during non-conference play and finished with four straight home victories after opening the season with a 99-90 double overtime loss to Manhattan at Gola Arena (GW won at Manhattan, 80-74, on Nov. 16). Coach Dr. John Giannini returns four starters and nine players from last season's Explorers team that reached the NCAA Sweet 16, led by guards Tyrone Garland (13.8 ppg) and Tyreek Duren (13.0 ppg) and forward Jerrell Wright (13.7 ppg). Forward Steve Zack provides 9.8 points and is second in the A-10 with 9.3 rebounds per game.