WHO: GW vs. Saint Joseph’s
WHEN: Wednesday, March 5 @ 9 p.m.
WHERE: Smith Center
Case for Saint Joseph’s:
With teams like VCU, Massachusetts and Saint Louis surrounding them in the standings, Saint Joseph’s has found itself sort of forgotten in the shuffle. But the Hawks are still the second ranked team in the Atlantic 10 and they are for a reason.
Saint Joe’s comes to the Smith Center Wednesday riding a a six-game winning streak, with victories at St. Bonaventure and against Dayton and VCU.
THe Hawks may shoot the worst free-throw percentage in the conference (64.9 percent), but they are the most efficient shooting team from the field (47.4 percent) and from three-point range (38.8 percent). On average, Saint Joseph’s drains more than seven threes per game – meaning the Colonials will need to use their length and speed to close out on shooter.
The Hawks have gotten to where they are thanks to an array of talented and versatile players in the paint and on the perimeter.
Four scorers average over 10 points per game, led by senior guard Langston Galloway’s 16.9 points per game – good for 4th in the A-10. He leads the team shooting .429 percent from three.
In the frontcourt, senior forwards Ronald Roberts and Halil Kanacevic have developed into a dynamic duo of sorts – similar to GW’s Isaiah Armwood and Kevin Larsen. Roberts is second on the team, averaging 14.6 points on 58.6 percent shooting, while adding 7.2 rebounds. Kanacevic adds to those seven boards with 8.4 of his own, also surprisingly dishing out an A-10 fourth best 4.6 assists per game.
Case for GW:
Wednesday, it will be Senior Night – the home season finale – with a packed crowd on hand at the Smith Center, where GW is 13-1 on the season.
If there was ever a time to be taking on the second ranked team in the A-10, it would be Wednesday.
GW will need everything it has, though, to take down the soaring Hawks, including a strong presence on the glass – like Sunday’s win against George Mason.
Saint Joe’s may be the second-best rebounding defense in the A-10, limiting second-chance opportunites by allowing just 32.4 boards per game, but the Colonials are the second-best rebounding offense, at 37.9 boards per game. The team that wins on the boards will likely find itself controlling the tempo and leaving with the win.
Head coach Mike Lonergan will certainly be looking for a repeat of Sunday’s performance from graduate student Maurice Creek. The guard exploded in the second half, burying three-straight threes on his way to a 22-point night. More success on the perimeter will be needed to answer the Hawks expected hot hand, and to open things up in the paint.
Additionally, GW enters as the second-worst free throw shooting team in the A-10. The struggles at the charity stripe may balance out with the Hawks poor shooting, but if the Colonials can find a way to get Saint Joe’s in foul trouble and take advantage of their time at the line, they will find themselves at a huge advantage.
A win for the Colonials would be huge, all but locking up an NCAA Tournament appearance – if they haven’t done so already.