WHO: GW Men’s Basketball (7-9, 1-2 Atlantic 10)
WHAT: Game #17, Atlantic 10 Game #4 vs. Massachusetts Minutemen (12-4, 2-1 A-10)
WHERE: Mullins Center (9,493), Amherst, Mass.
WHEN: Saturday, Jan. 19 at 4:00 p.m.
VIDEO: UMass All-Access
AUDIO: FederalNewsRadio.com, RaiseHigh.tv, 1500/820 AM (Byron Kerr)
PROMOTION: Get on the Bus as GW Men’s Hoops Battles UMass on Jan. 19
AMHERST, Mass. – George Washington men’s basketball plays the first of two straight games in New England on Saturday with a trip to face Massachusetts at the Mullins Center in Amherst, Mass. A charter member of the Atlantic 10 since its creation in 1976, GW joins Massachusetts as the only institutions to have played in the league all 36 seasons.
While UMass will recognize former standout Marcus Camby at Saturday’s game, GW will have alumnus Vaughn Jones (`96) on its extended pregame radio show on FederalNewsRadio.com, RaiseHigh.tv and 1500/820 AM at 3:30 pm. Jones was a member of the Colonials’ 1994-95 team that upset Camby’s No. 1 ranked UMass team, 78-75, with President Bill Clinton in attendance at the Smith Center in February 1995.
GW is the only program of 345 nationally to start four true freshmen in a game this season and has done so in all three of its A-10 games, including Wednesday’s 55-53 loss to Temple at the Charles E. Smith Center. The Colonials led for nearly 38 minutes, but failed to score over the final 7:53 as the Owls closed on a 10-0 run to steal a two-point league victory.
The Colonials saw a two-game series win streak end with an 86-75 loss to the Minutemen at the Smith Center last February 4. Both teams return six active players from that last meeting. GW has split its 12 meetings with UMass at the Mullins Center, which opened in February 1993.
Saturday’s matchup pits the stingy defense of GW against the high-scoring offense of UMass:
GW – 4th in Atlantic 10 in scoring defense (61.2 ppg), 2nd in A-10 in field goal defense (.403).
UM – 3rd in Atlantic 10 in scoring offense (72.8 ppg), 5th in A-10 in three-pointers made (7.6 3FG per game).
Isaiah Armwood, who is in his first of two years of eligibility at GW after transfering from Villanova, provided his fifth double-double of the season with 11 points and 14 rebounds in his A-10 debut against St. Bonaventure. Armwood is second in the league in blocks (2.9 bpg), third in rebounding (8.6 rpg) and tied for 24th in scoring (12.3 ppg). His 2.9 blocks per game rank 14th in the nation and 46 total blocks are more than 88 NCAA teams so far this season.
Massachusetts has won two straight games and nine of its last 10 after holding off Duquesne, 79-66, at the Mullins Center on Thursday. UMass led by as much as 17 in the first half before holding off the Dukes late. Chaz Williams led the way with 22 points, nine assists, five rebounds and four steals, while Terrell Vinson added 17 points and Freddie Riley and Cady Lalanne each scored 12.
The Minutemen’s four losses have come at the hands of NC State, Tennessee, Miami (Fla.) and Saint Louis. UM returns four starters from last year’s 25-12 team that reached the NIT Final Four.
Point guard Chaz Williams is the engine that drives the Minutemen, leading the team and A-10 and ranking sixth nationally with 7.4 assists per game, while also pacing the team and in the top 7 in the league in scoring (16.2 ppg), steals (2.0 spg), assist-to-turnover ratio (2.1) and minutes played (35.4 mpg). Through three league games, Williams is averaging 19.3 points, 7.7 assists and 5.7 rebounds while committing only four turnovers.
Despite averaging just 6.5 points and 6.5 rebounds this season, Cady Lalanne has stepped up in A-10 play by providing an 11.3-point, 11.7 rebound double-double average off the bench through three games.
Earlier this week, UMass announced second-leading scorer Jesse Morgan would be sidelined for the season after suffering a torn ACL in an A-10 opening 70-62 loss at Saint Louis. Morgan averaged 13.4 points and 28.7 minutes for UM while leading the team and ranking fourth in the A-10 with 2.6 three-pointers per game.
GW returns to New England on Wednesday at Rhode Island in Kingston, R.I., at 7 p.m. The game will be televised by the Ocean State Network and broadcast on FederalNewsRadio.com, RaiseHigh.tv and 1500/820 AM.