Men's Basketball Heads to St. Bonaventure on Sunday
Colonials and Bonnies set for 12pm tip on NBC Sports Network
TIPPING OFF: After a week off from competition, the GW men's basketball team closes a tough January stretch that sees them play five of seven on the road, including games against each of the top five teams in the Atlantic 10 standings, as the Colonials face St. Bonaventure on Sunday. The game is set for a 12pm tip and will be televised nationally by NBC Sports Network. GW is set to return home, where it owns an 8-3 mark this season, for three in a row after facing the Bonnies.
LAST TIME OUT: Despite shooting 70 percent from the field in the first half to trail VCU 41-37 at the break, the Rams pulled away in the final 20 minutes to secure an 87-63 victory last Saturday. Yuta Watanabe led GW with a game-high 19 points while Terry Nolan Jr. canned a season-best four 3-pointers to finish with 15.
SERIES HISTORY: The Colonials have won seven of the last 10 and four of the last five meetings, including a 76-70 win in the Smith Center last season. The Bonnies took the last matchup in New York with a 64-57 win back on Feb. 13, 2016. Overall, GW holds a 35-25 advantage in the series but the Colonials are 11-17 at St. Bonaventure.
TOP TWO-WAY THREAT: Watanabe, who leads GW in scoring and is consistently tasked with guarding the opposition’s best player, has made a case to be called the top two-way player in the conference. He owns A-10 ranks of 1st in minutes played (37.2), 3rd in blocks (1.5), 13th in rebounding (6.4) and 18th in scoring (14.7). The senior from Kagawa, Japan, who was named to the All-Defensive Team last season, has had a number of memorable defensive performances this season, the most recent when he held Otis Livington II of George Mason to three points on 1-of-7 shooting after Livingston came in averaging 26.0 ppg over his last four. Watanabe did that while contributing 19 points himself in 39 minutes of action.
CLEAN GETAWAY: GW has been one of the most disciplined teams nationally in not committing personal fouls, ranking fourth in the country with just 14.2 per game. Over the past three games, the Colonials have done it while averaging 9.0 steals per game, setting a new season high with eight vs. Richmond, only to top it with 11 vs. George Mason, before following with another eight at VCU. Nolan Jr. has been the main culprit, accounting for 11 of the 27.
NOTABLE NUMBERS: After allowing opponents to shoot 50 percent or above just three times in the first 15 games, teams have achieved that mark against GW in the last five games ... GW is 6-0 when scoring 70 points or more this season, but is averaging 64.3 ppg on the year and has reached that mark just twice in the last 11 games ... against George Mason, GW recorded its most fastbreak points (14), points off turnovers (29) and second-most points in the paint (40) all season ... Arnaldo Toro is averaging 10.4 rebounds/40 minutes ... the Colonials rank first in the A-10 and 37th nationally with 90 blocks on the year … GW has made as many or more freebies than their opponent in 11 games this year ... Yuta Watanabe ranks first in the A-10 and 12th nationally in minutes per game with 37.3 and is one of four Colonials averaging more than 30 minutes per game (Jair Bolden – 35.6, Terry Nolan Jr. – 31.2, Patrick Steeves – 30.0).
BO’S BOOST: After coming off the bench in the first 16 games of the season, Zeigler has been inserted into the starting lineup the past four games and given GW a boost. The graduate student transfer had a season-high 18 points on 9-of-11 shooting vs. George Mason, along with three blocks and a steal, after he just missed a double-double with 16 points and nine rebounds at Richmond on Jan. 13. In his four starts, Zeigler is averaging 12.5 points along with 4.5 rebounds and 2.3 blocks. Coming off the bench in his previous 16 games, he had averages of 5.8 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.1 blocks. For the season, he ranks second in the Atlantic 10 in field goal percentage (.656).
CRASHING THE BOARDS: Despite not having a player on the roster taller than 6-foot-9, the Colonials have made a habit of crashing the offensive glass. GW ranks fourth in the A-10 in offensive rebounding percentage (.310), having grabbed 210 offensive rebounds to opponents’ 467 defensive boards. The Colonials are also outscoring opponents 202-191 in second-chance points, registering at least 10 in 11 games this season.
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