GW Men's Hoops Hosts Dayton With A-10 Tourney Hopes on the Line
March 8, 2013
WHO: GW Men's Basketball (12-16, 6-9 Atlantic 10)
WASHINGTON - George Washington men's basketball hosts Dayton in its regular-season finale at the Charles E. Smith Center on Saturday. The Colonials will celebrate Senior Day by recognizing Bryan Bynes and Dwayne Smith prior to tip-off against the Flyers.
GW will be fighting to compete in the 2013 Atlantic 10 Championship on Saturday, needing a victory over Dayton to keep its chances for a tournament bid intact. The Colonials are in 13th place in the current A-10 standings, a game behind a four-way tie for ninth between the Flyers, Charlotte, Richmond and St. Bonaventure. GW holds head-to-head tiebreakers with Charlotte and St. Bonaventure, but dropped a decision at Richmond. A victory over Dayton could net GW a seeding as high as ninth or leave the Colonials in 13th depending on other A-10 results on Saturday. The top 12 teams in the final 16-team league standings qualify for the A-10 Championship at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., March 14-17.
In GW's last game, the Colonials shot 55 percent and Isaiah Armwood recorded his eighth double-double of the season, but La Salle answered with 61 percent shooting and four players who combined for 76 points to defeat the visitors, 84-70, at Tom Gola Arena on Wednesday. Armwood finished with 18 points and 10 boards, while Lasan Kromah netted 15 points to bring his career total to 990, just 10 shy of becoming the 44th member of GW's 1,000-point club.
This marks the third straight season GW will complete its regular season against Dayton. The Colonials fell to the Flyers in Dayton twice in a span of four days to conclude the 2011-12 campaign - a 75-59 loss at UD Arena in the regular-season finale, and a 67-50 defeat in the 2012 A-10 Championship first round. However, GW was victorious in the last meeting at the Smith Center in March 2011, fighting through 11 lead changes and seven ties before Tony Taylor's deciding free throws with 10 seconds left and Jabari Edwards' game-saving block as time expired in the 60-58 triumph. GW owns a slight 15-14 edge in the all-time series, including wins in 10 of the 13 meetings at the Smith Center.
GW head coach Mike Lonergan enters Saturday's game one victory shy of 400 for his 20-year coaching career (399-193). Lonergan trails only Temple's Fran Dunphy (466) and La Salle's Dr. John Giannini (437) as the A-10's winningest head coaches.
Dayton has won three straight games to climb into contention for an A-10 Championship berth. UD shot 53 percent from the floor in defeating St. Bonaventure 75-63 on Wednesday, its fifth consecutive game shooting better than 50 percent. The Flyers are averaging better than 80 points over the past five games, going 4-1 during that stretch.
The Flyers are 13-4 at home this season following Wednesday's win over St. Bona, but just 2-7 in true road games and 4-8 away from UD Arena.
Guard Kevin Dillard paced UD with 18 points and eight assists against the Bonnies, followed by backcourt teammate Vee Sanford's 14 points. Forward Dyshawn Pierre made all three of his three-point attempts and added 12 points, and Josh Benson chipped in 11.
Dillard, a preseason First Team All-Atlantic 10 selection, leads the Flyers in scoring (15.1 ppg), assists (4.7 apg), three-pointers (51) and free throws made (127). Sanford, in his first year at UD after transferring from Georgetown, provides 12.1 points along with 33 triples, and Benson also averages double-figures at 10.3 points.
The Flyers are the A-10's top shooting team with league best's of 47.1 percent overall and 38.4 percent from behind the arc. GW and UD are two of the top four rebounding teams in the conference in terms of margin as the Colonials are third with a +4.6 edge and Flyers are fourth at +4.2.