GW Men's Hoops Caps Saturday Doubleheader at Smith Center with VMI
GW (4-6) vs. VMI (4-6) | Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012 | Charles E. Smith Center | 3:00 p.m.
Dec. 20, 2012
WHO: GW Men's Basketball (4-6)
WASHINGTON - George Washington men's basketball returns from an 11-day layoff to host high-scoring VMI in the finale of a basketball doubleheader at the Charles E. Smith Center on Saturday, Dec. 22. The Colonials women's basketball team will welcome George Mason at 12 p.m., with the men set to face the Keydets at 3 p.m., and tickets for either game garners admission to both games of the doubleheader.
Byron Kerr will host an extended pregame show on FederalNewsRadio.com and 1500/820 AM beginning at 2:30 p.m. Colonials women's basketball head coach Jonathan Tsipis and women's soccer senior Jane Wallis, the GW Athletics Community Service Student-Athlete of the Month for November, will join Kerr prior to tip-off against VMI.
GW and VMI have previously met 58 times dating back to 1912, including 34 years as Southern Conference rivals from 1936-70, but have not played since the 1974-75 season when the Colonials posted a 90-79 victory in their final season at Fort Myer in Arlington, Va. GW opened play in the new Smith Center the following season and Saturday's game will mark VMI's first visit to the Foggy Bottom facility. The Colonials have won six straight and eight of the last nine in the series.
In its most recent outing on Dec. 11, GW used a 33-14 run to grab a 53-49 lead with 9:45 remaining at Rutgers, but the Scarlet Knights managed to escape in the final minutes and deal the Colonials a 68-65 loss on the road at the RAC. Senior Isaiah Armwood led GW with 18 points on 8-of-13 shooting and added seven rebounds, four blocks, three assists and three steals. Senior Lasan Kromah and freshman Patricio Garino chipped in 10 points apiece, and freshman Kevin Larsen narrowly missed his first collegiate double-double with nine points and season-best 11 rebounds. Trailing 35-20 with 3:27 left in the first half, the Colonials used the 19-point swing to grab a four-point edge, but the Scarlet Knights responded with a 12-3 run and held on late.
Five of GW's six losses this season have come by single digits, including its last three games by a combined 10 points - a 72-68 loss at Bradley on Dec. 4, a 65-62 loss to Kansas State on Dec. 8, and a 68-65 loss at Rutgers on Dec. 11.
Armwood continues to pace GW and the Atlantic 10 in several categories, including rebounding (8.9 rpg), blocks (3.4 bpg) and double-doubles (four), and also leads the team and is tied for 19th in the league in scoring (13.4 ppg). Entering this week, Armwood's 3.4 blocks per game also ranked tied for ninth in NCAA Division I and he was in the Top 100 in the country in rebounding (53rd) and field goal percentage (86th, 53.5%).
GW is one of just four NCAA Division I programs to have at least four foreign-born student-athletes (Patricio Garino, Kevin Larsen, Nemanja Mikic, Dwayne Smith) crack its starting lineup this season, joining Gonzaga, Maine and A-10 rival St. Bonaventure.
VMI plays its first game in two weeks on Saturday. The Keydets have dropped three of their last four games, most recently a 92-59 decision at Wright State on Dec. 8. Two of VMI's four victories and highest-scoring games have come against non-Division I opponents in Central Penn College (116-81) and Virginia University of Lynchburg (102-61). The Keydets are 2-6 against Division I competition, including victories over Old Dominion (76-71) and Elon (90-81).
VMI enters Saturday's game ninth in the nation in scoring at 82.2 points per game, but ranks 342nd out of 345 ranked teams in surrendering 82.0 points per game. The Keydets are also 10th in the NCAA with 8.9 made three-pointers per game on an average of 29 attempts.
6-foot-6 forward Stan Okoye is 36th in the country in scoring at 19.3 points per game, and adds a team-best 9.1 rebounds per game. D.J. Covington has a team-leading three double-doubles and averages 14.4 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.6 blocks in just 25 minutes.
Head coach Duggar Baucom, now in his eighth season at VMI, installed his up-tempo system prior to the 2006-07 season and the Keydets have since been the highest-scoring team in NCAA Division I five times (2007-11) and reached the Big South Conference title game three times (2007, 2009, 2012).
Virginia Military Institute is located in Lexington, Va., and is one of the smallest institutions in the country to field NCAA Division I athletics with an enrollment of just 1,600. The Keydets nickname is derived from Southern style slang for the word "cadets."
The Colonials will take an eight-day break for the Christmas holiday before its next game when it hosts Sacred Heart at the Smith Center on Dec. 30. The game can be viewed live on RaiseHigh.tv and heard live on FederalNewsRadio.com and 1500/820 AM.