GW Men's Hoops Makes First Trip to VCU for Key A-10 Matchup
Feb. 15, 2013
WHO: GW Men's Basketball (11-11, 5-4 Atlantic 10)
RICHMOND, Va. - George Washington men's basketball will visit A-10 leader VCU and Verizon Wireless Arena for the first time on Saturday in a regionally televised contest on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic. It will be the fourth all-time meeting between the Colonials and Rams, and third in the past four seasons.
The Colonials carry a three-game A-10 road win streak into Saturday's game having swept through New England with victories at Massachusetts and Rhode Island in late January, followed by a 79-57 rout at Duquesne on Feb. 6. A victory would give GW its first four-game road win streak since the 2010-11 season (2/5/11 - 3/2/11 at Charlotte, UMass, La Salle and Rhode Island).
GW has won four of its last six games to improve to 11-11 overall and eighth place in the A-10 at 5-4, but is coming off a 59-56 loss to 14th-ranked Butler at the Charles E. Smith Center last Saturday. Trailing 48-31 with just over 12 minutes remaining, the Colonials roared back behind a 25-11 run and came within a point of the lead with less than a minute to play, but couldn't complete the comeback against the Bulldogs. Isaiah Armwood recorded his second consecutive double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds, and is now tied for third in the A-10 with seven double-doubles this season.
GW dropped to 0-3 all-time against VCU with a 75-60 loss last season at the 17th BB&T Classic at the Verizon Center in December. The Colonials return just four active players from last year's meeting, while the Rams have nine of their 11 players back. The two teams also met in the 2010 postseason College Basketball Invitational (CBI) at the Smith Center, as well as the 1978 Virginia Tipoff Tournament in Charlottesville, VA.
Coach Mike Lonergan enters Saturday's game two wins shy of 400 career victories (398-188) in his 20th season as a head coach. Lonergan trails only Temple's Fran Dunphy (460) and La Salle's Dr. John Giannini (433) as the A-10's winningest head coaches.
VCU trailed Massachusetts by five, 42-37, at halftime, but used a 21-1 run out of intermission en route to an 86-68 victory at Verizon Wireless Arena on Thursday night, leaving less than 48 hours to prepare to host GW on Saturday night. The Rams forced 24 turnovers that led to 28 points and limited the Minutemen to 27 percent shooting in the second half, including an 0-for-7 effort behind the arc.
VCU currently sits atop the A-10 standings at 8-2 following Thursday's win over UMass, a half-game ahead of Saint Louis and a game clear of Butler, La Salle and Xavier. The Rams have won 17 of their last 19 games after starting the season 3-3, and are receiving votes in both national polls this week.
Four Rams players average double-figures - guard Treveon Graham (16.0 ppg), forward Juvonte Reddic (14.0), guard Troy Daniels (12.2) and guard Rob Brandenburg (10.8). Daniels leads the A-10 with 89 made threes, while reserve guard Briante Weber paces the league with 75 steals. VCU forces 20.4 turnovers per game and leads the nation with 12.1 steals an outing, which it turns into 24.9 points per game or nearly a third of its 77.8 scoring average.
Head coach Shaka Smart has a 104-33 record in his three-plus seasons at the helm of the VCU program, including a 28-12 mark while leading the Rams to the 2011 NCAA Final Four. VCU won a school-record 29 games and won the CAA Championship in its final season in the conference last year.
GW will play its 500th game inside the Charles E. Smith Center on Wednesday when it hosts Fordham at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic Plus, streamed on RaiseHigh.tv and broadcast live on FederalNewsRadio.com and 1500/820 AM.