GW Men's Hoops Faces Manhattan in 18th Annual BB&T Classic
GW (3-3) vs. Manhattan (2-3) | Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012 | Verizon Center | 12:15 p.m.
Dec. 1, 2012
WHO: GW Men's Basketball (3-3)
WASHINGTON - George Washington men's basketball will look to move above .500 for the first time this season when it faces Manhattan College in the 18th annual BB&T Classic benefiting Children's Charities Foundation at the Verizon Center.
Just as they did last year, the Colonials will make the 15-block trip to the Verizon Center via Metro, departing the Charles E. Smith Center at 10 a.m., for the Foggy Bottom-GWU station and making four stops before exiting at Gallery Place-Chinatown to prepare for the 12:15 p.m. tip-off. Maryland and George Mason will play the second game of the doubleheader at approximately 2:30 p.m.
GW, along with Maryland, has participated in the BB&T Classic since its inception in 1995. The Colonials won the event in 1997, 1999 and 2004 when it was still in a tournament format, and have a 13-14 overall record in 17 seasons. GW has gone 3-4 since the event switched to a one-day format in 2005, most recently a 75-60 loss to VCU in last December's 2011 edition.
GW improved to 2-2 all-time against Manhattan with a 64-59 victory at the 2000 Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic in Honolulu, HI, the programs' first meeting in 45 years. Both teams had three players in double figures, but GW all-time leading scorer Chris Monroe scored a game-high 20 points and the Colonials won the game at the foul line with a +11 differential at the stripe. Sunday's meeting is the first time the two teams will meet in the district after three games in New York and the fourth in Hawaii.
Freshmen Patricio Garino, Joe McDonald and Kevin Larsen made key plays down the stretch as GW men's basketball edged James Madison, 54-53, at the JMU Convocation Center on Wednesday night. GW trailed 48-47 with 3:12 to play before its rookie trio spearheaded a game-clinching 7-2 run to avenge last year's 62-57 home loss to JMU. Garino hit a three-pointer to match the Colonials' largest lead of the night at 52-48 with 2:09 left, then picked off an inbounds pass and calmly buried the deciding foul shots with 3.6 seconds left. McDonald and Larsen finished with a team-high 12 points, with Larsen adding a game-high nine rebounds.
Since being reinserted into the starting lineup for the Hofstra game, senior Lasan Kromah has responded with efficient basketball. In his last three games, Kromah is averaging 14.3 points on 67.9 percent shooting (19-28) from the field, 2.7 assists and 1.7 steals in 27.3 minutes. Kromah currently ranks sixth in the Atlantic 10 in field goal percentage at 59.2 percent (29-49). Freshman Kevin Larsen has also played well over his last three games, averaging 12.0 points on 67 percent shooting (16-24), 8.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 25.3 minutes.
Manhattan has won two of its last three games entering Sunday's visit to the district, most recently a 65-58 victory at Fordham in the 105th "Battle of the Bronx" game on Thursday. The Jaspers' other victory came in their lone home game of the season on Nov. 21 - a 67-56 triumph over a Hofstra team that the Colonials beat 80-56 in the district three days later.
Senior George Beamon leads the Jaspers in scoring at 19.3 points over the last three games after missing the season's first two games due to injury. The nation's seventh-leading returning scorer at 19.0 points per game in 2011-12, Beamon reached double-figures for the 51st straight game with 10 points in the victory at Fordham on Thursday.
Michael Alvarado is second on the team in scoring at 11.6 points per game, while Rhamel Brown adds 9.8 points and a team-best 7.6 rebounds.
The Jaspers are in their second season under head coach Steve Masiello, who helped the program to the largest turnaround in college basketball last season with a 15-win improvement. After posting just six wins in 2010-11, Manhattan and Masiello went 21-13 and advanced to the second round of the 2012 CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament.
The unique nickname of Manhattan College's athletic teams, the Jaspers, comes from Brother Jasper of Mary, F.S.C., who served at the College in the late 19th century, coached its baseball team, and is credited for creating the time-honored baseball custom that is the "seventh-inning stretch."
GW enters Sunday's game with a 30-29 all-time record against current Metro-Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) teams. (Canisius - 3-1; Fairfield - 1-2; Iona - 0-1; Loyola (MD) - 16-16; Manhattan - 2-2; Marist - 1-0; Niagara - 1-0; Rider - 2-2; St. Peter's - 3-3; Siena - 1-2). Coach Mike Lonergan carries a 7-6 mark all-time against MAAC schools (Fairfield - 0-1; Iona - 2-1; Loyola (MD) - 2-3; Marist - 2-0; Siena - 1-1).
GW will play its seventh game in 17 days when it travels to Peoria, Ill., to face Bradley on Tuesday, Dec. 4. The Colonials will look to even the all-time series at three-games apiece and avenge a narrow 67-66 loss to the Braves at the Charles E. Smith Center last December 15.