George Washington (19-4) at Virginia Commonwealth (19-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 12, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Siegel Center (7,617) -- Richmond, Virginia. Television: NBCSN. Home Record: GW 12-0, VCU 12-0. Away Record: GW 4-3, VCU 4-3. Neutral Record: GW 3-1, VCU 3-2. Conference Record: GW 7-2, VCU 7-2. Series Record: Virginia Commonwealth leads, 4-1.
GAME NOTES: Two of the Atlantic 10 Conference's best meet up at the Siegel Center on Wednesday night, as the Virginia Commonwealth Rams play host to the George Washington Colonials.
George Washington has won seven of its past eight games, most recently dismantling Fordham on Saturday afternoon, 93-67, to improve to 7-2 in the A-10, two games behind Saint Louis for first place. The Colonials are an outstanding 19-4 overall this season, but they have just a 4-3 record in true road games.
VCU, which is tied for second place in the A-10 with George Washington at 7-2, had been winners of six straight games prior to its 69-62 loss at Saint Joseph's on Saturday. The Rams are still 19-5 on the season, which includes a perfect 12-0 mark on their home floor, and they have won 17 straight at the Siegel Center dating back to last season.
George Washington downed VCU at home back on Jan. 14, 76-66, for its first win in the all-time series in five tries.
The Colonials ran out to a commanding 23-point lead at the half of their most recent game, shooting a blistering 75.9 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes, and they put the game on cruise control the rest of the way for the easy home victory. Pacing the effort was Maurice Creek, who shot 7-of-14 from the field, including 3-of-8 from 3-point range on his way to 20 points. Patricio Garino poured in 18 points, while Isaiah Armwood (16 points) and Kevin Larson (14) both brought down eight rebounds.
George Washington has displayed excellence on both ends of the floor this season, shooting 47.5 percent from the field for 75.2 ppg while allowing just 65.3 ppg on 40.3 percent shooting. It also lives in the green in terms of its rebounding (+4.9) and turnover (+1.2) margins, with its only discernable weakness coming at the free-throw line (.663). Leading five players in double figures is Creek with 14.0 ppg, thanks largely to making a team-high 51 3- pointers at a 38.3 percent clip. Kethan Savage (13.4 ppg) and Larsen (12.0 ppg, 6.6 rpg) both shoot greater than 51 percent from the field, while Armwood (11.9 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 2.0 bpg) and Garino (11.3 ppg) round out the balanced attack.
The Rams stumbled early over the weekend at Saint Joseph's by getting down by eight at intermission, and they their comeback attempt in the second half fell short as they dropped the disappointing decision. They shot 41.7 percent from the field, including a lackluster 4-of-14 from 3-point range, and were only 8- of-12 from the free-throw line. Juvonte Reddic posted 17 points, eight rebounds, three steals and two blocks in the losing effort, Melvin Johnson scored 14 points off the bench, and Treveon Graham and Briante Weber netted 13 and 11 points, respectively.
On the season, VCU has been outshot by its opponents from the field, 43.3 percent to 41.9 percent, but it is still able to boast a strong scoring margin by putting up 75.8 ppg and allowing just 65.6 ppg. The scoring discrepancy comes due to its success from 3-point range, draining 7.4 long-range buckets per game, and by leading the nation in turnover margin (+7.0) and steals per game (11.7). Graham is the catalyst with 15.2 ppg to go with 6.8 rpg, while Reddic is a mainstay in the frontcourt with 12.5 ppg and 8.4 rpg. Johnson brings 10.3 ppg to the table, and Weber (9.5 ppg) hands out 4.0 apg and leads the nation with 3.6 spg.
These two teams are remarkably well-matched on paper, but just as George Washington was able to dismiss the Rams on its home floor earlier in the season, expect VCU to get up in front of its home crowd and take down the Colonials.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: VCU 74, George Washington 70
02/12 10:42:48 ET