GW Men's Hoops Hosts James Madison in Presidential Battle on Thursday
Dec. 21, 2011
WHO: George Washington Men's Basketball (4-6)
WASHINGTON - George Washington men's basketball continues its homestand on Thursday against James Madison at Charles E. Smith Center at 7 p.m. The game is the second in a four-game home stretch for the Colonials, who have won four straight in the series against the Dukes. Thursday's game promotion is Staff Appreciation night, with special discounted tickets for GW staff members and a special staff halftime basketball scrimmage.
The GW/JMU matchup features the only NCAA Division I series between universities named after former Presidents of the United States - George Washington, our nation's first President from 1789-1797, and James Madison, the fourth POTUS from 1809-1817.
The GW/JMU series began in January 1975 with an 89-74 victory for the Colonials in a game played at Fort Myer in Arlington, Va. GW won 80-70 at the brand new Charles E. Smith Center the following season and, after dropping an 82-62 neutral-site decision in 1978, has won four straight games in the series between 1992 and 1995 to take a 6-1 edge in seven all-time meetings. The Colonials have won all three previous contests against the Dukes at Smith Center, including the dubbed Presidents' Day games in February of 1992 and 1995. In the last meeting in December 1995, Yegor Mescheriakov led GW with 25 points as the visiting Colonials shot nearly 50 percent and defeated the Dukes, 76-68, in Harrisonburg, Va., on their way to a 21-8 overall record and an at-large bid to the 1996 NCAA Tournament.
GW senior Tony Taylor was named a candidate for the 2012 Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year Award, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced earlier this week. The annual honor, named for Hall of Famer and former Boston Celtic Bob Cousy, recognizes the top point guards in college basketball. The Preseason First Team All-Atlantic 10 selection from Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., is one of four A-10 players on the list along with Duquesne's T.J. McConnell, La Salle's Tyreek Duren, and Xavier's Tu Holloway. Taylor currently leads the Colonials in scoring (12.9 ppg), assists (4.7 apg), steals (1.7 spg) and minutes (34.8 mpg) while shooting 45 percent from the field and 44 percent from three-point range.
Despite putting four players in double-figures for the first time this season, GW dropped its most recent outing to Bradley, 67-66, at Smith Center last Thursday. Senior Aaron Ware scored a team-high 13 points, freshman John Kopriva added a career-best 12 by making 6-of-6 field goals, senior Tony Taylor netted 11 and junior Lasan Kromah contributed 10 points, seven assists and seven rebounds in the loss. The Colonials held the edge in almost every category, but were outshot by the Braves (FG - 50% vs. 41.4%; 3FG - 50% vs. 20%; FT - 58.3% vs. 46.2%), including misses by Tony Taylor and Lasan Kromah with a chance to win on the Colonials' final possession.
GW (4-6) has dropped its last five games after a three-game win streak gave it a 4-1 overall mark through five games. The Colonials' recent five-game skid has come against Kansas State, VCU, Loyola (Md.), Syracuse and Bradley, which currently boast a combined 39-12 record. Of the six teams GW has lost to so far this season, their combined record is 48-14 (California - 9-2; Kansas State - 7-1; VCU - 7-3; Loyola (Md.) - 8-2; Syracuse - 12-0; Bradley - 5-6).
GW is the only (and will be the only) Atlantic 10 Conference team to have played three true road games against programs from the six power conferences this season - California (Pac-12), Kansas State (Big XII) and Syracuse (Big East).
James Madison (5-3) has won four of its last five games, most recently a 67-49 victory over The Citadel at home on Monday night, a bounce-back win following a 71-51 home loss to Kent State 13 days earlier.
JMU shot 50 percent and limited Citadel to 28.6 percent shooting in the first half to race out to a 34-21 lead at halftime. The Dukes extended their margin to as much as 21 while shooting better than 54 percent in the second half, and also enjoyed an 11-0 edge in fast-break points for the contest.
The Dukes rely heavily upon their upperclass backcourt of redshirt junior A.J. Davis and senior Humpty Hitchens, who average 17.9 and 16.4 points, respectively, and entered the week both ranked in the Top 100 in the nation in scoring. JMU also relies heavily on the three-point shot, and Davis' and Hitchens' ability to convert behind the arc. JMU entered the week ranked 11th nationally in three-pointers made per game and three-point percentage, and currently average 9.1 and 40.8 percent in the categories after an 8-of-22 effort from three against The Citadel. Davis entered the week ranked third nationally at 51.4 percent from deep, but missed all five attempts against the Bulldogs on Monday.
Redshirt junior Andrey Semenov, who also averages in double figures for JMU at 10.5 points per game, attended the Blue Ridge School in St. George, Va., the current home of GW 2012-13 early signee Paris Maragkos.