Your Guide to GW sports


men’s basketball

Friday, May 6, 2016 4:29 p.m.

Sophomore forward Cimino to transfer

Sophomore forward Matt Cimino will transfer out of the men’s basketball program, according to a tweet by CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein Friday afternoon.

Cimino was forced to redshirt his sophomore season after suffering a foot injury during practice just three games into the season.

As a freshman, the Falmouth, ME native averaged 0.2 points in just 2 minutes of play per game, shooting 36 percent on the year.

After high school, Cimino was given a 78 overall grade by ESPN and was the most highly touted player arriving in Foggy Bottom.

Cimino now becomes the third Colonial in about a month to announce an early departure from the team. Fellow sophomores Anthony Swan and Paul Jorgenson declared their intention to transfer early last month.

Only six players will return as Colonials at the start of next season.

The 6-foot-10 forward’s exit opens up even more room for incoming freshman Kevin Marfo and Arnaldo Toro to get valuable time in the front court.

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The Colonials non-conference schedule will feature home games against Virginia, Seton Hall and Penn State. Hatchet file photo by Dan Rich | Contributing Photo Editor

The Colonials non-conference schedule will feature home games against Virginia, Seton Hall and Penn State. Hatchet file photo by Dan Rich | Contributing Photo Editor

Men’s basketball announced its twelve-game, 2015-16 non-conference schedule Wednesday.

The Colonials are slated to face teams from the ACC, Big 10, SEC, Big East and American conferences, and will host seven of their out-of-league matchups.

“As strong as the A-10 is, we have to be prepared for league play and put ourselves in the best possible position for the postseason by playing a tough out-of-conference schedule,” head coach Mike Lonergan said in a release. “Our students and fans should be really excited about what they’ll see from their team this season with a terrific out-of-conference slate at the Smith Center.”

In addition to Virginia (11/6), Seton Hall (12/2), Penn State (12/8)  and Rutgers (12/12), four teams with which GW had home-and-home agreements, Lafayette (11/13) and Saint Peter’s (12/19) will also pay visits to the Smith Center in 2015.

GW will travel to South Florida (11/19) to begin the first leg of a new home-and-home agreement with the Bulls, and conclude its out-of-league schedule in Chicago with a battle against DePaul (12//22).

The Colonials will also participate in the 2015 Barclays Center Classic in Brooklyn, N.Y. There they will take on Army (11/22) and Gardner-Webb (11/24) before competing in a four-team, two-day finals featuring Cincinnati, Nebraska and Tennessee. Matchups for the tournament are yet to be announced.

Despite a lackluster 22-13 overall record, GW finished 12-5 in non-conference play last season, went a perfect 5-0 at the Smith Center and defeated No. 11 Wichita State in the Diamond Head Classic final.

The team will be back in action as early as Nov. 3, when its hosts Gannon (DII) in the only exhibition game of the season.

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Junior Kevin Larsen came alive in the Colonials 81-68 domination over the Blue Devils, recording 18 points and 8 rebounds. Cameron Lancaster | Photo Editor

Junior Kevin Larsen came alive in the Colonials’ 81-68 domination over the Blue Demons, recording 18 points and eight rebounds. Cameron Lancaster | Photo Editor

Updated: Dec. 12, 2014 at 12:06 p.m.

Men’s basketball dominated DePaul inside, scoring more than half of their points in the paint, to defeat the Blue Demons 81-68 Thursday at the Smith Center.

Junior forward Patricio Garino guided the Colonials (6-2) with a team-high 19 points, followed closely by junior Kevin Larsen, who led the team with eight rebounds and scored 18 points to share the second top-scoring spot with junior point guard Joe McDonald.

Against a sharp-shooting DePaul (6-2) team that had the 21st best field goal shooting percentage in the country coming into the contest (.495), GW was able to hold the edge and shoot 57.1 percent on the night to the Blue Demons’ 49.1 percent mark.

“There was really no letdown. We missed some easy buckets, but we never really let any of their guys get going,” head coach Mike Lonergan said. “It’s two games in a row now that we’ve played teams with some talent inside and they didn’t really hurt us too much.”

While DePaul struggled to get the ball in the net, GW thrived down low. The Colonials would finish the night outscoring the Blue Demons 54-24 in the paint and out-rebounding them 38-28.

“[Outscoring DePaul in the paint] was a big plus, but I thought we would be struggling a little more to score inside because both of their big guys are really good players,” Larsen said. “But that motivated us to try to go at them and show that we are better players.”

Three Colonials would end the first half scoring in double figures, helping GW secure a commanding 20-point lead at halftime. Larsen led with 11 first-half points, while Garino and McDonald each scored 10.

“Kevin [Larsen] is so much more effective inside where he can score and do a lot of things,” Lonergan said. “That’s opened up a lot of driving lanes for Patricio [Garino] … and allows guys to get to the rim, and I think that’s why Patricio is shooting an unbelievable percentage in the last three games.”

GW shot an impressive 60 percent from the field in the first half to DePaul’s 34.6 percent and demolished their Big East opponent 28-6 in the paint. Junior guard Kethan Savage scored two points but had a team-high five rebounds, as his team would out-rebound the Blue Demons 21-12 in the first frame.

An 11-4 run by DePaul early in the second half kept the Blue Demons in the game, but DePaul’s 15th of 24 total personal fouls sent GW to the line, slowing down the game.

Sophomore guard Nick Griffin knocked down one of his two threes on the night moments later to liven a quieting crowd and give the Colonials a 52-33 lead. Griffin and freshmen Yuta Watanabe led the bench with six points each, while Watanabe also contributed five rebounds and two assists in the 13-point GW victory.

Junior Joe McDonald didn't stray from the basket as he scored 18 points over in GW's 81-68 win over DePaul. Cameron Lancaster | Photo Editor

Junior Joe McDonald didn’t stray from the basket as he scored 18 points in GW’s 81-68 win over DePaul. Cameron Lancaster | Photo Editor

Garino had shot 62 percent in GW’s previous four games and went eight for nine from the field against DePaul, also totaling five of the Colonials’ 10 steals.

“I think pressuring the ball on defense allows me to run the transition,” Garino said. “And I think I’m going to the rim and making layups. I have to pick up my free-throw shooting, but I feel comfortable and again, pressuring the ball opens everything for me.”

Despite the Blue Demons’ improved 63 percent shooting in the second half and GW’s 14-27 mark at the free throw line, the Colonials would hold on for the fourth consecutive win at home this season. GW is now 19-1 in their last 20 games at the Smith Center.

The Colonials will look to extend their three-game winning streak Sunday as they head to University Park, Pa. to take on Penn State at 12 p.m.

This post was updated to reflect the following corrections:
In a photo caption, The Hatchet incorrectly identified DePaul as the Blue Devils. They are the Blue Demons. The Hatchet also incorrectly reported that the rebounding margin was 31-21. It was 38-28. We regret these errors.

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Forward Collin Goss and guard Jordan Roland have become the first official signees of the 2015 men’s basketbal recruiting class, head coach Mike Lonergan announced Thursday.

Both players, who had each verbally committed to GW this summer, inked National Letters of Intent this week during the early signing period.

“We are very excited to have Collin and Jordan joining the GW Basketball family,” Lonergan said in a release. “These two student-athletes will be great additions to our program.”

Goss averaged 9.8 points as junior at St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes School in Alexandria, Va., where he also earned Second Team All-Interstate Athletic Conference honors and helped his team finish 18-8 overall and 8-2 in IAC last year.

The 6-foot-10 Manassas, Va. native has three older sisters who have all played at the NCAA Division I level, including 2014 GW graduate Rachael Goss, a four-year outside hitter for the Colonials’ volleyball team. Goss will also be the fifth player on the team’s 2015-2016 roster hailing from the D.C. area.

“Collin is a very skilled post player who has great potential because of his versatility,” Lonergan said.

Roland comes to the Colonials from Syracuse, N.Y, where he averaged 23.9 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.6 steals to lead his Westhill High School team to a perfect 27-0 record last year as a junior. He is also the reigning New York State Class B Player of the Year.

The 6-foot-1 point guard is a three-star recruit, currently the No. 10-rated player in New York State and No. 59 point guard in the nation, according to

“Jordan can score in numerous ways and can play both guard positions,” Lonergan said. “He is a proven winner and has shown tremendous leadership ability.”

Fellow Syracuse native Tyler Cavanaugh, a transfer from Wake Forest, will join Roland next year when his two-year eligibility for the Colonials begins.

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Couldn’t watch the basketball teams’ media day? Both men’s head coach Mike Lonergan and women’s head coach Jonathan Tsipis spoke to the press about their upcoming seasons.

Tsipis spoke about building his program back up to the historical strength of GW women’s basketball and the strength of his freshmen class. Tsipis’ team was picked to finish second by other Atlantic 10 coaches.

Lonergan talked about how his team will perform with higher expectations – they were also picked to finish second in the A-10 – and how the return of projected top-100 scorer Kethan Savage will impact the team.

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On top of their best season in seven years, six members of the men’s basketball team received a conference-high eight postseason basketball awards, the league announced Tuesday.

It’s the second-most awards for GW in program history and the most since 2005-2006.

Sophomore Kevin Larsen earned the Chris Daniels Most Improved Player award for his improvement from his freshman season. After averaging 8.5 points and 5.0 rebounds a season ago, Larsen increased his averages this season to 11.3 points and 7.1 rebounds. Larsen is the first GW player to earn the award since Pops Mensah-Bonsu did it back in 2004.

Kevin Larsen goes up in the post against VCU earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

Kevin Larsen goes up in the post against VCU earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

Senior Isaiah Armwood took home two awards Tuesday, earning Second Team All-Conference honors, as well as a spot on the conference All-Defensive team. “The Blockness Monster” finished the regular season ranked second in the A-10 in rebounds at 8.7 per game and sixth in blocks, totaling 49 for the year. On the offensive end, Armwood is averaging 12.3 points per game, which ranks 23rd in the conference. Armwood finished the regular season tied for third with 10 double-double’s on the season.

Senior Armwood sends home a dunk earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

Senior Armwood sends home a dunk earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

Like Armwood, sophomore Patricio Garino also picked up two awards Tuesday, joining Armwood on the All-Defensive team and being selected to Third Team All-Conference. Playing just 23 games for GW due to a finger injury, Garino was responsible for picking up the slack left after sophomore Kethan Savage’s regular-season ending injury. Garino did just that, finishing the regular season averaging 12.3 points, while shooting 57.5 percent form the field, good enough for sixth best in the conference. On the defensive end, Garino, who was a preseason pick to take home all-defensive honors, averaged 1.6 steals per game, ranking fourth in the conference.

Sophomore forward Patricio Garino slices between two UMass defenders earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

Sophomore forward Patricio Garino slices between two UMass defenders earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

Joining Garino on Third Team All-Conference is graduate student Maurice Creek. Creek was the offensive general for the Colonials all season, leading the team at 14.6 points per game. Throughout the season, Creek’s high-scoring efforts were complemented by his scoring from beyond the arc, where he ranked seventh in the conference at 40.9 percent from three. Creek averaged 2.6 three point field goals per game, ranking fourth in the conference, and finished the season with 74 made threes. In GW’s last regular season game against Fordham, Creek knocked down a career-high six three’s.

Guard Maurice Creek hits a jumper earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

Guard Maurice Creek hits a jumper earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

Topping off the list for GW were junior John Kopriva and senior Nemanja Mikic, who were tabbed to the conference’s All-Academic Team. With the two selections, GW becomes the most decorated academic program in league history, with 15 selections to the All-Academic team since its debut in 1991. Mikic also becomes the 13th A-10 student-athlete to earn All-Academic Team honors three times in a career. Earlier this season, Kopriva was named to the CoSIDA/Capital One Academic All-District 2 First Team.

Third-seeded GW will head to Brooklyn, N.Y., for the Atlantic 10 Championship quarterfinals this Friday at 9 p.m.

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Members of the men's water polo team dressed in togas and cheered raucously earlier this year at the Smith Center. Hatchet File Photo by Cameron Lancaster

Members of the men’s water polo team dressed in togas and cheered raucously earlier this year at the Smith Center. Hatchet File Photo by Cameron Lancaster

Ben Krimmel, a senior majoring in international affairs, is a Hatchet columnist.

Foggy Bottom had become a virtual ghost town by Monday afternoon of spring break.

Except for a few holdovers — like myself — milling around campus, the only people around were prospective students on tours. With the sun cascading down on the Smith Center, I snuck up on one such group to listen for any mention of the men’s basketball team.

Knowing the GW marketing team’s penchant for hyperbole, I expected the guide to proclaim the basketball team serious NCAA Tournament contenders next to the likes of Florida and Kansas.

Instead, the bragging was rather scant. The tour guide simply stated that there had been a few attendance records set during this year’s season. I was mystified.

No mention of the 23 wins – the most since 2007 – and nothing about the team’s No. 3 seed in this weeks A-10 Tournament. The guide didn’t even let his group know that tickets are free for students. This may have been the guide’s only chance to boast about the University without any hint of irony, and he let the opportunity go by.

Of course, the omission of more statistics about GW’s winning season was this particular tour guide’s choice. But perhaps the underselling of the team’s success by this student and others on campus can be chalked up to the University’s collective uncertainty on how to promote the men’s basketball team’s victories – a new source of GW pride – to prospective students.

This is something that GW should highlight more, certainly at least as much as we tout the school’s proximity to national landmarks.

Sure, one winning season certainly does not mean there will be a flood of applications from students more interested in “bracketology” than election forecasting. But as the basketball team brings more national attention to the University, and some seedlings of the change have already taken root.

The increase in this year’s student attendance demonstrates the beginnings of a greater sense of community — something the University is often criticized for failing to create.

Higher attendance is a testament to the work of Director of Athletics and Recreation Patrick Nero, the leaders of the Colonial Army, the players and men’s basketball head coach Mike Lonergan. Whether it is the pregame tailgates, t-shirt giveaways or a free trip for students to the game at George Mason, this has been a year where pride seems to finally be coming naturally to GW students.

Tour guides and all other current students would be unwise to continue using athletics as a punchline. In fact, they should make it a focal point: For the millions who fill out an NCAA Tournament bracket, GW will now be known as one of 68.

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It’s been a week since the Colonials nearly upset Saint Louis last Saturday. A week to think about what’s left to be done and for head coach Mike Lonergan to get his team back to early season form, stating after Saturday’s loss that his team had lost its swagger.

With just three games to play before the Atlantic 10 tournament, and the Colonials still fighting for a top four finish in the conference, Lonergan told his team it’s officially a three-game season. First up, a rematch against George Mason.

In their last meeting on Jan. 25, GW topped GMU 75-69 at the Patriot Center. The Colonials handed the Patriots their sixth-straight conference loss, while improving to 4-1. But since then, GMU has gone 3-4, beating A-10 foes such as Massachusetts and Richmond, while losing in overtime to the Billikens. GW has done slightly better, going 4-3 in that period.

The Colonials will go for the Revolutionary Rivalry sweep Sunday when they face off against the Patriots. | Courtesy of GW Athletics

The Colonials will go for the Revolutionary Rivalry sweep Sunday when they face off against the Patriots. | Courtesy of GW Athletics

“They had been playing everybody tough early in the year and were just kind of snake-bitten,” Lonergan said at a practice Friday. “Now they’ve gotten some wins and got their confidence up and they’re definitely one of the better offensive teams in our league.”

The Patriots continue to be led by the senior duo of Sherrod Wright and Bryon Allen. In the seven games since the two teams’ last meeting, Wright has averaged 20.5 points per game, while Allen has averaged 19.1. Anchoring the defense is redshirt freshman Jalen Jenkins, who ranks 16th in the conference at 6.3 rebounds, pulling in 8.3 rebounds in GMU’s last three games. In January, Jenkins, along with senior Johnny Williams, hurt the Colonials with outside jumpers and aggressiveness on the glass.

“They rebound good, they play good defense and last time we got burned with their big men shooting elbow jumpers. I think he [Williams] hit like four of them,” sophomore Kevin Larsen said. “We’ve got to be ready to go out and close out under control and make him drive.”

But for Lonergan, it’s not about scouting Mason as much as it is scouting his own team. Lonergan said Friday that there are three keys for the Colonials to get back to their winning ways; knocking down shots and getting back to focusing on rebounding and defense.

“I think we stopped getting better and started losing the focus of our program, which is really defense and rebounding,” Lonergan said “If your shots don’t drop, you can still guard and you can still help a team in other ways and we’ve got to all recognize that. So we got to get our energy and enthusiasm back and I think we’ll have a great crowd the next two home games.”

As a team, GW has shot just 36.3 percent from the field over its last three games. To change that, Lonergan is continuing to hope that graduate student Maurice Creek will find his stroke. Creek, who’s been the pulse of the team all season long, struggled mightily against Saint Louis last Saturday, not scoring his first bucket until seven minutes into the second half. Lonergan said that he needs Creek to produce, because when the guard is on, it’s contagious.

“We’ve got to get Maurice Creek hitting shots because I think when he was hitting shots, it opened things up for Nemanja Mikic who was shooting really well, but now his numbers are down too,” Lonergan said. “We’re gonna try and get [Creek] some open shots and hopefully he’ll get back on track. He had a very good all-around game at Mason and he’s due for a breakout game.”

With the conference tournament now just two weeks away and a possible NCAA tournament appearance to follow, it would be easy for GW to overlook a GMU team that sits near the bottom of the conference. But the Colonials seem focused and ready to return to the Smith Center floor where they are 12-1 on the season.

“There’s no room to look ahead. We’ve got to focus on each game at a time and on Sunday we’ve got George Mason and right now that’s the most important game on the schedule,” Larsen said.

Tip off for this Revolutionary Rivalry matchup is at 1 p.m. Sunday.

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ST. LOUIS — The men’s basketball team had several possessions and scoring runs that kept the Colonials close with the No. 10 team in the country.

Saint Louis would make a run, GW (20-7, 8-5) would push back, but forced errors and a debilitating defense would lead to a 66-59 loss for the Colonials. The loss – on the road in front of a hostile sellout crowd – was GW’s third in four games.

“I’m glad we didn’t fold. It was a great atmosphere and I’m glad we came back and tied it up,” head coach Mike Lonergan said.

But, he added: “We’ve got to get our swagger back.”

The Colonials stormed back from a 14-point deficit to tie the game with a little over nine minutes left in the game. But GW’s shooting then went ice cold. It was a story of the game: close, but not quite enough.

GW played a one-dimensional first half, scoring 16 of their 19 points from field goals inside the paint. Sophomores Kevin Larsen and Joe McDonald carried the Colonials offense, scoring 20 of GW’s 27 first half points, with Larsen leading the team with 12.

The Saint Louis defense, which entered the game as the ninth-best scoring defense in the nation, held GW to 35 percent shooting in the first half. Throughout the half, the Billikens backcourt swarmed GW ball handlers, forcing nine first-half turnovers off five steals, and often times made it difficult for the Colonials to even pass the ball.

“It was just tough to get any wing entries,” McDonald said. “We had to do a lot of high ball screens with me and Kevin because you know, we couldn’t get it in from the wing so we just had to improvise a little bit.”

After a painfully slow first half, the men’s basketball team had a chance to go into the half with momentum and cut a Saint Louis lead, that was as large as 11, down to single digits in the final seconds.

An errant pass by SLU’s Jake Barnett led to a steal at midcourt by sophomore Kevin Larsen. After pushing the ball up the floor, GW found senior Nemanja Mikic in the corner for an uncontested three.

A miss by Mikic and a rebound by junior John Kopriva would lead to a second-chance opportunity for the Colonials as Kopriva looked for Mikic who stood unguarded. But a misdirected pass and turnover by Kopriva would lead to a Billikens dunk on the other end as the clock expired.

The Colonials’ first-half efforts were stunted by foul trouble from two of the team’s season leaders: senior Isaiah Armwood and graduate student Maurice Creek. Armwood would be limited to just 12 first half minutes while Creek would play just 10.

By the end of the half, between Garino, Creek, and Armwood go a combined 1-for-6 from the field.

“Honestly, Patricio and Mo Creek couldn’t even get open,” Lonergan said. “Mo, they played physical with him, and he couldn’t get the ball, he really struggled.”

Creek and Armwood would log heavier minutes in the second half of play, but both would struggle offensively. Armwood would finish with six points on 2-for-7 shooting and 11 rebounds. Creek, who wouldn’t score his first field goal until 13:50 left in the second half, would finish with five points on 2-for-12 shooting. Creek would miss all five of his three-point attempts.

On the offensive end, Saint Louis was able to break GW’s 1-3-1 zone defense with ball movement, converting 16 field goals on 10 first half assists. The Billikens shot 55 percent, led by 10 first-half points from senior Jordair Jett, and would end the half with a 12 point lead.

At the half, Lonergan told his 20-win team to start playing like an NCAA Tournament contender.

“At halftime, I just said we’re not playing with enough energy. I said, ‘Hey you want to come here and compete, we’re on TV, this is a big game for us,’” he said. “I said I just want to play hard, I didn’t think we played real hard.”

GW would respond, coming out aggressive in the second half and slowly chipping away at the SLU lead while tightening up on the defensive end. The offensive charge was led by McDonald and sophomore Patricio Garino.

After being affected by the SLU pressure in the first half, McDonald adjusted and was able to run set plays for the offense while finding his own shot. McDonald would finish with 13 second-half points, six of those points coming from beyond the arc.

After attempting just a single shot in the first half Garino went 3-for-5 in the second and finished with 11 points and six rebounds. Defensively, the Colonials outrebounded the Billikens 26-17 after being outrebounded in the first half by three.

In the span of just under 11 minutes, GW would erase a 14-point Saint Louis lead. But like most of the game, Saint Louis would regain composure, and take an 8-0 run to extend their lead, something that Billikens’ head coach Jim Crews credits to his team’s ability to regain the rebound battle.

But the big GW run would come at a price. Lonergan said that he believed the 11-minute span knocked the energy out of his starting five. He added that without a productive bench, forced him to leave the starters in for extended minutes.

SLU would keep GW in the game due to lackluster free throw shooting, shooting 9-15 from the line. The Colonials would come as close as three points, but multiple missed three-point looks by McDonald and Garino down the stretch would seal the victory for the Billikens.

“I thought maybe we lost our composure, but Patricio came down and just shot like a 30 footer,” Lonergan said.

Lonergan had one timeout remaining in the game but opted not to use it, saying after the game that he tried to have Garino go off a screen but says the sophomore’s inexperience and quick shot may have led to the quick shot.

GW returns to the Smith Center next Sunday where they will host George Mason at 1 p.m.

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Then-freshman forward Kevin Larsen battles a tough Saint Louis defense at the Smith Center last year. Hatchet File Photo by  Cameron Lancaster

Then-freshman forward Kevin Larsen battles a tough Saint Louis defense at the Smith Center last year. Hatchet File Photo by Cameron Lancaster

Who: No. 10 Saint Louis University (24-2, 11-0)

When: Saturday 8 p.m.

Where: Chaifetz Arena, St. Louis

Even if GW can tune out a raucous crowd and get past Saint Louis’ conference-leading defense , the Colonials will have an even greater obstacle Saturday: the Billikens’ experience and poise late in the game.

Saint Louis starts five seniors who have helped the team to win close games in conference play. The Billikens enter Saturday’s matchup as winners of 18 straight games, with their most recent victory coming in overtime against George Mason Wednesday.

Out of the team’s 11 conference wins, two games have been won in overtime, and five games have been decided by four points or less. Their only two losses this season have come against No. 16 Wisconsin and No. 3 Wichita State.

“It shows me what a team that starts five seniors can be,” GW head coach Mike Lonergan said during a practice Thursday. “They don’t get flustered and they find ways to win, and that’s what makes them a great team.”

The Billikens average 71.3 points per game and shoot the ball at 44.4 percent. SLU boasts three players who average double figures in scoring, led by senior Dwayne Evans who ranks 13th in the conference at 14.7 points per game. The Billikens best all-around offensive player however is senior guard Jordair Jett. Jett has great ability to get to the basket and draw defenses. He averages 13.7 points per game, and ranks second in the conference in assists at five per game.

As a team, the Billikens average 14.5 assists and turn the ball over 12.1 times per game, which yields the second best assist-to-turnover ratio in the league.

Senior forward Rob Loe will also give the Colonials fits, especially in the frontcourt, Lonergan said.

Loe, who stands at 6-foot-11, is a surprisingly strong perimeter scorer and can pass the ball well. In his last five games, Loe has averaged 14.2 points while shooting 12-for-25 from beyond the arc.

“Loe’s been doing a good job of hitting three’s lately, and really creates matchup problems,” Lonergan said. “[Larsen is] going to have to do a good job of making sure he gets out on him.”

The Billikens outscore their opponents by an average of 11.5 points per game, which ranks first in the conference. But their offense shouldn’t get all the credit.

They rank first in the conference and 12th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 59.9 points per game. Opponents shoot 39.4 percent from the field against the Billikens and 26.7 percent from beyond the arc. SLU forces 14.7 turnovers a game, many coming in the form of steals. The Billikens only trail VCU at 7.8 steals per game, with four players recording at least 25 steals so far this season.

“Their defense is what has my attention really,” Lonergan said. “They just do such a good job of denying things and taking you out of your offense.”

GW will have to play at their best if they plan on handing Saint Louis just its second home loss of the season, but the Colonials have some momentum entering Saturday’s game after a big road win at Richmond Tuesday.

“I’m telling them we had a nice road win at Richmond and now we have an opportunity to play a top 10 team in their building,” Lonergan said. “We’ve got nothing to lose but we’ve got to go in there and make sure that we’re confident, that we play loose, and win or lose this is only one game in our season.”

GW continues to be led by the scoring of graduate student Maurice Creek, who in the past four games is averaging 16 points. After successfully using Creek off the bench in Tuesday’s game, Lonergan said that he is unsure of his gameplan for Saturday’s matchup.

The Colonials will also look for another strong performance from sophomore guard Joe McDonald. McDonald logged heavy minutes against the Spiders, finishing with 14 points and five rebounds. Against a stingy Billikens defense, GW will look to McDonald to handle the ball and organize offensive sets. Lonegran did mention that he will need the rest of his backcourt to step up and help McDonald.

“We need to stay loose and have fun,” forward Isaiah Armwood said. “We think we can beat them. They’re a good team but we’re a good team as well.”

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