GW Men's Hoops Battles Xavier on National TV for 2-0 A-10 Start
GW (7-7, 1-0 A-10) at Xavier (8-6, 1-0 A-10) | Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013 | Cintas Center | 4:00 p.m.
Jan. 11, 2013
WHO: GW Men's Basketball (7-7, 1-0 Atlantic 10)
CINCINNATI, Ohio - George Washington men's basketball will shoot for its second 2-0 start to Atlantic 10 play in three seasons when it visits Xavier for a national CBS Sports Network telecast on Saturday. Former XU coach Pete Gillen will provide analysis alongside play-by-play man Dave Ryan, the duo who worked GW's exciting Buff Out game against Kansas State last month.
The contest pits two of the stingiest defenses in the Atlantic 10 as both teams rank in the top four in the league and Top 70 in NCAA Division I in scoring defense and field goal percentage defense:
GW will look to snap a seven-game skid against Xavier, though the series has been close of late with each of the last three meetings decided by single digits. The Colonials were edged by the Musketeers, 59-58, at the Charles E. Smith Center last season, failing to convert on a trio of game-winning shot attempts on the game's final possession. GW's last victory in the series came on Feb. 2, 2006, an 89-85 win at Cintas Center as part of the Colonials' perfect 16-0 A-10 record during the 2005-06 season.
GW started four freshmen in its A-10 debut and rolled to a 78-59 victory over defending conference champion St. Bonaventure at the Smith Center on Wednesday. GW cruised to its seventh A-10 opening win in the last nine seasons behind a balanced and efficient offensive effort. The Colonials placed four players in double figures and shot 57 percent (28-of-49) en route to their second-best scoring output of the season. Senior Lasan Kromah provided a spark off the bench with a team-high 14 points, while freshmen starters Patricio Garino and Kethan Savage each scored 12 and senior Isaiah Armwood provided an 11-point, 14-rebound double-double. GW made 12 of its first 14 shots, including a three-and-a-half minute stretch of eight consecutive field goals, to turn an early 5-4 deficit into a 26-12 lead just over eight minutes into the game and never trailed again.
Isaiah Armwood, who is in his first of two years of eligibility at GW after transfering from Villanova, posted his fifth double-double of the season in his A-10 debut against St. Bonaventure, and also added a game-high five blocks. Armwood leads the league in blocks (3.1 bpg), is second in rebounding (8.7 rpg) and 23rd in scoring (12.6 ppg). His 3.1 blocks per game rank eighth in the nation and 44 total blocks are nearly double Xavier's team total of 25 and more than 122 NCAA teams so far this season.
Xavier halted a four-game losing skid with a 57-52 victory over Temple in both teams' Atlantic 10 opener at Cintas Center on Thursday night. Freshman guard Semaj Christon scored a game-high 16 points and senior forward Travis Taylor added an 11-point, 10-rebound double-double to pace the Musketeers, who limited Owls' leading scorer Khalif Wyatt to five points on 2-of-11 shooting.
XU opened the season 7-2, highlighted by victories over Butler and Purdue, but has since gone 1-4 with a neutral-site loss to Cincinnati and road losses to Tennessee and Wake Forest. The Musketeers are 5-2 at the Cintas Center this season and have won 48 of their last 49 home league games.
Head coach Chris Mack relies on an eight-player rotation, including seven players who average 20 or more minutes. Christon leads XU in scoring (13.6 ppg), assists (4.3 apg) and steals (1.4 spg), while converting nearly 50 percent of his shots inside the arc. Taylor also averages double figures with 11.7 points and paces the Musketeers in rebounding at 7.6 per game. Xavier leads the A-10 in field goal percentage (.464) despite ranking 15th in the league in scoring offense (64.4 ppg).
XU posted a 23-13 mark in 2011-12 for its seventh straight 20-win season and 15th 20-win season in the last 16 years. The Musketeers are one of four teams nationally to have reached the Sweet 16 four times in the last five years along with Kansas, Michigan State and North Carolina.
GW returns to the Smith Center on Wednesday to host Temple. The game will be televised live on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic and CSN Philly, and can also be heard on FederalNewsRadio.com and 1500/820 AM.