GW Men's Hoops Goes for New England Sweep Wednesday at Rhode Island
Jan. 22, 2013
WHO: GW Men's Basketball (8-9, 2-2 Atlantic 10)
KINGSTON, R.I. - George Washington men's basketball will seek its second straight Atlantic 10 victory in New England on Wednesday when it visits Rhode Island at the Ryan Center. The Colonials are coming off a 79-76 triumph at A-10 rival Massachusetts on Saturday. Wednesday's meeting will be televised locally in Rhode Island on the Ocean State Network, marking GW's ninth televised game of the season.
The contest looks to be a defensive battle between two of the league's top defenses as GW enters play ranked third in field goal defense surrendering 40.6 percent shooting and while URI ranks fifth at 41.3 percent. It will also pit two of the A-10's and nation's top shot blockers in GW's Isaiah Armwood and URI's Jordan Hare, who rank second and third in the league, respectively, in blocked shots. Armwood is second in the league in blocks (2.8 bpg), third in rebounding (8.5 rpg) and 23rd in scoring (12.3 ppg). His 2.8 blocks per game rank 18th in the nation and 48 total blocks are more than 85 NCAA teams so far this season.
GW is the only program of 345 nationally to start four true freshmen in a game this season and has done so in all four of its A-10 games, including Saturday's three-point win at UMass. Freshman Joe McDonald led four double-digit scorers with a 16-point, 10-assist double-double, the first of his collegiate career. Seniors Dwayne Smith (15 points, five rebounds) and Lasan Kromah (14 points, six rebounds) combined for 29 points and 11 rebounds off the bench, freshman Patricio Garino added 12 points and a game-high four steals, and senior Isaiah Armwood chipped in eight points, seven boards, five assists and two blocks. Trailing UMass 18-12 at the under-12 media timeout, GW had seven different players score during a 17-4 run over the next six minutes and never trailed again. The Colonials' lead peaked at 16 points in the second half and they withstood a late Minutemen rally.
The Colonials have won two straight against the Rams - a 69-61 victory at the Smith Center last Jan. 11, 2012, and a 66-55 triumph at the Ryan Center on March 2, 2011. GW has split its six meetings with URI at the Ryan Center, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary season after opening for play in November 2002.
Rhode Island secured its most significant victory of the season on Saturday with an 82-80 overtime win at Saint Louis. After opening the Dan Hurley era with five straight losses in November, the Rams have since gone 6-5 under Coach Hurley with victories over Auburn, Vermont, SMU, Georgia State, Brown and the Billikens.
Junior transfer Xavier Munford has stepped in as URI's and the Atlantic 10 Conference's most potent scorer at a team- and league-best 17.8 points per game. Munford reunited with Hurley, his former high school coach at St. Benedict's Prep in New Jersey, after two seasons at two junior colleges, most recently at Iowa Western College where he earned First Team All-America honors while averaging 16.6 points in 2011-12.
URI gets the majority of its points from four players, led by Munford and followed by double-digit scorers Nikola Malesevic (10.7 ppg), Andre Malone (10.3) and Mike Powell (10.1). Munford (24 pts.), Malone (14), Malesevic (14) and freshman forward Jordan Hare (10) all reached double figures in the Rams' win at Saint Louis. That game featured 21 lead changes and 11 ties and was URI's third overtime game of the season (2-1).
Dan Hurley was named the 19th head coach in Rhode Island history in March 2012 after Jim Baron's contract was not renewed. Hurley went 38-22 in his first two seasons at the NCAA Division I level at Wagner, including a 25-6 mark in 2011-12. Prior to that he went 223-21 in nine seasons at St. Benedict's.
GW plays four of its next six games at the Charles E. Smith Center, starting with a home matchup against Charlotte on Saturday. The contest will be televised regionally on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic Plus, as well as on Charlotte's CW46 WJZY. The game also can be viewed live on RaiseHigh.tv and heard live on FederalNewsRadio.com and 1500/820 AM.