GW Men's Hoops Hosts #18/19 Saint Louis in Critical A-10 Clash
GW (12-14, 6-7 A-10) vs. #18/19 Saint Louis (22-5, 11-2 A-10) | Saturday, March 2, 2013 | Charles E. Smith Center | 4:00 p.m.
March 1, 2013
WHO: GW Men's Basketball (12-14, 6-7 Atlantic 10)
WASHINGTON - George Washington men's basketball hosts its second Top 20 opponent inside Charles E. Smith Center this season when it welcomes No. 18/19 Saint Louis on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. The Colonials took No. 14 Butler to the final possession in a 59-56 loss at the Smith Center on Feb. 9, one of seven one-possession games for the Colonials this season.
The Colonials enter Saturday's game in a four-way tie for ninth place in the Atlantic 10 standings with three league games remaining. GW shares a 6-7 league mark with Charlotte, Saint Joseph's and St. Bonaventure, a game behind Richmond and Massachusetts and a game ahead of 13th-place Dayton. The top 12 teams in the final 16-team league standings qualify for the 2013 A-10 Championship at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., March 14-17.
GW played its 14th game decided by single-digits this season with a 73-64 loss at Richmond on Wednesday. Reigning A-10 Rookie of the Week Kevin Larsen set a new career-high with 16 points and freshman Kethan Savage matched his career-best with 12 points, but the Colonials gave up early leads in both halves and allowed a deciding 34-16 run to fall to the Spiders.
The "home" team has won each of the nine head-to-head meetings between GW and SLU since the series began in 2006. The Colonials have won all four meetings at the Smith Center as well as a 2007 A-10 Championship semifinal contest as the higher seed (#3 vs. #7), while the Billikens have won all four games in St. Louis, including a 78-56 victory in the most recent meeting at Chaifetz Arena in January 2012.
GW head coach Mike Lonergan enters Saturday's game one victory shy of 400 for his 20-year coaching career (399-191). Lonergan trails only Temple's Fran Dunphy (464) and La Salle's Dr. John Giannini (435) as the A-10's winningest head coaches. Saturday's game is also the first between longtime head coaches Lonergan and Jim Crews, but it is not their first meeting. In May 2007, Coaches Lonergan and Crews joined the likes of GW alumnus Mike Brey, Fran Fraschilla and the late Skip Prosser, among others, on a week-long Operation Hardwood tour of Kuwait to boost morale among U.S. military members.
Atlantic 10 leader and nationally ranked No. 18/19 Saint Louis carries the nation's eighth longest win streak into Saturday's meeting with GW at 10 consecutive games. The Billikens have also won 19 of their last 21 outings following Wednesday's 70-53 victory over the Saint Joseph's Hawks in St. Louis.
Forward Dwayne Evans leads SLU in scoring and rebounding at 12.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per game, while reserve forward Cody Ellis provides 10.7 points with a team-high 50 three-pointers off the bench and starting guard Mike McCall Jr. adds 10.3 points per game.
Evans provided his third double-double of the season with 21 points and 12 rebounds, as well as three blocks and three steals, in the victory over St. Joe's. The Billikens committed only nine turnovers and forced the Hawks into 32.6 percent shooting, including a 3-of-17 performance behind the arc.
The Billikens top the Atlantic 10 and entered the week with the 18th-best scoring defense in the nation at 58.0 points allowed per game, which has since dropped to 57.9 after surrendering 53 to the Hawks on Wednesday. SLU is also 11th nationally in turnover margin at +4.0, or committing only 11.0 turnovers per game while forcing 15.0.
While GW boasts a starting lineup of four freshmen, SLU coach Jim Crews relies on a nine-player rotation in which eight of the players are upperclassmen and at least 21 years old.
GW plays its final road game of the regular season on Wednesday night at La Salle. The Colonials fell to the Explorers, 80-71, at the Smith Center on Feb. 2. The contest will be broadcast live on FederalNewsRadio.com, RaiseHigh.tv and 1500/820 AM.