Charlotte (16-3) at George Washington (9-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 26, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Charles E. Smith Center (4,338) -- Washington, D.C. Television: CSN-MA. Home Record: Charlotte 10-1, GW 4-4. Away Record: Charlotte 3-2, GW 4-5. Neutral Record: Charlotte 3-0, GW 1-0. Conference Record: Charlotte 4-1, GW 3-2. Series Record: GW leads, 14-11.
GAME NOTES: The surging Charlotte 49ers head to the Smith Center on Saturday to take on the George Washington Colonials in an Atlantic 10 Conference matchup.
Charlotte stands among the A-10 leaders with a 15-3 overall record and a 4-1 mark in league play. The 49ers have won five of their last six overall, including Wednesday's 63-57 home win over the Xavier Musketeers, who are also 4-1 within the conference. The 49ers will be idle for a week following this tilt until Massachusetts comes to town next Saturday for Homecoming.
George Washington has won two straight, both on the road and both in narrow fashion. After squeaking out a 79-76 win over UMass last Saturday, the Colonials notched a 66-65 win at Rhode Island on Wednesday thanks to a late bucket from freshman Joe McDonald. The Colonials will play three of their next four games at home, although they are just 4-4 inside the Smith Center.
GW holds a 14-11 edge in the head-to-head series, although Charlotte was a 72-62 winner when these met last February. That outcome snapped the 49ers' four-game slide in the series.
After giving up 81 points at Richmond in its previous outing, Charlotte stepped up its defensive effort on Wednesday and held Xavier to 57 points and 38.6-percent shooting from the floor. The 49ers managed to win despite losing the rebounding battle, 44-33, including 21-6 on the offensive glass. Willie Clayton finished with 14 points on a perfect 6-of-6 shooting from the floor to pace four players in double figures. Clayton also collected a team-best eight boards. DeMario Mayfield was next in line with 13 points, while Chris Braswell and Denzel Ingram each scored 12. On the season, Braswell leads the squad with 11.6 points per game to go along with 5.8 rebounds, while Mayfield is scoring 11.4 ppg. The 49ers prefer to create scoring opportunities near the rim, as they are averaging just over three 3-pointers per game. They have made up for that lack of outside shooting by posting a +4.0 rebounding margin and by holding foes to 37.2-percent shooting, which ranks in the top-10 nationally.
On the other side of the floor, GW has gotten some big-time production of late from the rookie McDonald. In last week's win over UMass, he tallied 16 points and 10 assists. McDonald followed that up by hitting the game-winner against Rhode Island on a 15-foot baseline jumper. In fact, he made several clutch plays late in the contest as 11 of his 12 points came over the final 10:21. GW shot an impressive 51 percent from the floor as a team, while also holding a key 34-25 rebounding advantage. Isaiah Armwood added 13 points in the victory, while Kevin Larsen also reached double figures with 10. On the season, Armwood is shooting 53.1 percent and he leads the team with 12.1 points and 8.3 rebounds per tilt. Thanks to Larsen roaming the paint, the Colonials are +4.6 in rebounding margin.
Notching consecutive A-10 road victories is no easy task, particularly for a team like the Colonials who are the only squad in the nation to start four freshmen. However, open looks will be hard to come by against the 49ers and their swarming defensive pressure.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Charlotte 65, George Washington 56
01/26 10:36:18 ET