GW Men's Hoops Visits Charlotte with A-10 Tourney Bid, Seeding Implications
Feb. 21, 2012
WHO: George Washington Men's Basketball (9-17, 4-8)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - George Washington men's basketball caps its home-and-home series with Charlotte at Halton Arena on Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. The Colonials will seek their second straight season sweep of the 49ers after capturing both meetings in 2010-11, including a 73-67 win in Halton Arena. Tony Taylor finished with 25 points and nine assists, and GW shot 51 percent from the field to offset a 3-of-17 effort behind the arc in that six-point win.
GW captured the initial meeting with Charlotte, 60-52, at Charles E. Smith Center on Jan. 21 behind sophomore Nemanja Mikic's season-high 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting. The Colonials trailed by as many as 12 points, 19-7, early in the first half after a 15-0 run from the 49ers. However, GW managed to trim the margin to five by halftime and erupted with a 15-4 run to start the second half and never trailed again. The victory marked GW's fourth straight over Charlotte, with its last loss in the series coming at Halton Arena, 72-68, in Feb. 2010. The Colonials have won 10 of the last 13 in the series and own a 9-3 lead since the 49ers became A-10 members in 2005-06, including a 4-3 mark at Halton Arena.
The Colonials and 49ers are currently tied for 11th in the Atlantic 10 standings, a half game behind 10th-place Richmond, and two games behind eighth-place Duquesne and Dayton, who meet on Wednesday. GW is also two games clear of 13th-place Fordham with four league contests remaining. The top 12 teams in the final league standings qualify for the 2012 A-10 Championship, with seeds 5-12 playing at first-round campus sites on March 6, and the final three rounds at Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall March 9-11. The Colonials won the A-10 title in the tournament's debut in Atlantic City in 2007, but have since gone 0-2 in two appearances.
GW (9-17, 4-8 A-10) put four players into double figures for just the third time this season, but Saint Joseph's also boasted four double-digit scorers and used a key first-half run to hold off a second-half rally and hand the Colonials a 73-66 loss in front of the largest Smith Center crowd (3,774) since December 2009 on Saturday. The crowd witnessed the Colonials storm back from a 37-20 halftime hole to within four on three different occasions in the second half, but get no closer. Senior Tony Taylor led GW with 14 points, while junior David Pellom posted a 12-point, 11-rebound double-double, his second of the season and fourth of his career. Junior Lasan Kromah scored all 13 of his points in the second half, and junior Bryan Bynes made a pair of key threes in the second half and finished with 10 for his first double-digit point effort of the season.
Junior David Pellom continues to lead the Atlantic 10 in field goal percentage at 67.9 percent (91-134). Pellom's 67.9 percent rate would rank second in the nation if he satisfied the NCAA minimum of five made field goals per game. More than a third of Pellom's field goals so far this season have been via dunks (32-of-91). Pellom's 67.9 percent shooting is threatening Joe Holup's (`56) 56-year-old single-season record of 64.7 percent field goal shooting (200-of-309) set in 1955-56, as well as the A-10 record of 66.3 percent held by Dayton's Sean Finn (2003-04). Pellom would need to satisfy the minimum of five made field goals per game to break Finn's league mark.
Charlotte (12-13, 4-8 A-10) has lost two straight overall and five of its last seven since its 60-52 loss at GW on Jan. 21 to fall to 12-13 overall and 4-8 in A-10 play. Most recently, Charlotte suffered a narrow 53-52 defeat at Richmond on Saturday, a game in which it was haunted by a 9-of-19 effort at the foul line.
Chris Braswell posted a 16-point, 13-rebound double-double, his sixth of the season and 21st of his career, on 7-of-15 shooting to lead the 49ers against the Spiders. Javarris Barnett added 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting, but the rest of the 49ers combined to shoot 9-of-28 in the loss.
Braswell is in the top 10 in the league in both scoring (10th at 15.2 ppg) and rebounding (6th at 7.5 rpg) - one of three players in the A-10 in the top 10 in both (Nicholson - SBU; Gaston - FOR) - to pace Charlotte. Barnett adds 12.1 points, 6.0 rebounds and a team-high 49 three pointers, and DeMario Mayfield chips in 10.6 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. Braswell enters Wednesday's game eight points shy of 1,000 for his career.
Charlotte ranks second in the A-10 and 20th in the nation with 8.6 steals per game, paced by Perria Henry's fourth-in-the-nation 2.8 thefts per contest. The 49ers posted eight steals and forced 19 turnovers in the loss to the Spiders on Saturday.
Charlotte was picked to finish 11th in the preseason A-10 coaches' poll after posting a 10-20 overall record and 2-14 league mark in 2010-11 under debut head coach Alan Major.