GW Men's Hoops Hosts Duquesne with Shot at Securing A-10 Championship Bid
Feb. 24, 2012
WHO: George Washington Men's Basketball (9-18, 4-9)
WASHINGTON - George Washington men's basketball hosts Duquesne at 2 p.m. on Saturday in its second-to-last home game of the season at Charles E. Smith Center. With a victory in their 70th all-time meeting against the Dukes and losses by both Fordham and Rhode Island on Saturday, the Colonials can clinch a bid to the 2012 Atlantic 10 Championship.
GW (9-18, 4-9 A-10) owns a 23-7 all-time home record and 42-27 overall head-to-head mark against Duquesne, but has lost four straight in the series dating back to 2008. In Pittsburgh last February, GW led 21-20 in the first half, but Duquesne went on a 52-22 run over a span of 20 minutes and used a 29-5 edge in points off turnovers as the Colonials fell, 84-59. Tony Taylor scored 21 points and Bryan Bynes hit a career-high four three-pointers en route to 14 points, but GW committed a season-high 26 turnovers in the loss. Prior to the four losses, GW had won six straight in the series and 22-of-25 dating back to 1995.
The Colonials currently sit in 12th place in the A-10 standings, two games behind ninth-place Duquesne and two games ahead of 13th place Fordham and Rhode Island. A victory over Duquesne and losses by Fordham (vs. La Salle) and Rhode Island (vs. Saint Louis) on Saturday would give GW a three-game lead on both Rams' programs with two league games remaining, thus clinching a berth in the A-10 Championship.
Four GW players scored in double figures for the second straight game but it wasn't enough as Charlotte pulled away with an 18-3 second-half run to defeat the Colonials, 72-62, at Halton Arena on Wednesday night. Senior Tony Taylor led GW with 14 points for the second straight game, while junior David Pellom provided his second consecutive double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds. It marks the first back-to-back double-doubles by a GW player since Joseph Katuka accomplished the feat in victories over La Salle and Saint Joseph's in January 2011.
With three regular-season games and two home contests remaining, senior standout Tony Taylor is seeking to make a final surge up several GW career charts as he currently ranks 21st all-time with 1,309 career points and fourth all-time with 470 assists. Based on current averages, he's on pace to pass the likes of Mike King, Bill Telasky and Troy Webster into 18th in career scoring, and approach third-ranked Alvin Pearsall's 497 career assists. Graduate student Jabari Edwards currently ranks seventh all-time with 107 career blocks, just one shy of matching sixth-ranked Omar Williams' 108 from 2002-06.
Junior David Pellom continues to lead the Atlantic 10 in field goal percentage at 68.1 percent (96-141). Pellom's 68.1 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 (33-of-96). Pellom's 68.1 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.
Duquesne (15-12, 6-7 A-10) dropped a 74-62 decision at home against Dayton on Wednesday night for its second consecutive loss to drop to 15-12 overall, 6-7 in A-10 play and into ninth in the league standings. The Dukes are a game behind seventh place La Salle and Dayton, a half game ahead of 10th place Richmond and one game on top of 11th place Charlotte.
In the loss to the Flyers on Wednesday, the Dukes got a combined 4-of-22 shooting from starters Eric Evans, B.J. Monteiro and Andre Marhold and were outrebounded 41-24. Mike Talley scored 13 points off the bench to lead Duquesne, which fell to 10-4 at home in the loss, and T.J. McConnell had nine points and game-high eight assists. Duquesne is 3-7 in true road games this season.
Monteiro paces a balanced Dukes offense at 14.9 points per game, followed by Sean Johnson's 13.9 points per game and McConnell's 11.6. McConnell, a preseason third team All-Atlantic 10 and All-Defensive Team selection, leads the A-10 in steals (2.9 spg) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.1), and is third in the league in assists (5.7 apg).
The Dukes possess the fourth-best scoring offense in the A-10 at 73.0 points per game, thanks to a league-leading +5.48 turnover margin and 1.29 assist-to-turnover ratio. However, they struggle on the defensive end where they rank second-to-last in the conference in both scoring defense (71.6 ppg) and field-goal percentage defense (45.5%). Duquesne also struggles on the glass, where it's last in the A-10 in rebounding defense (38.4 rpg allowed) and rebound margin (-7.0).