Massachusetts (16-6) at George Washington (8-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 4th, 7:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Charles E. Smith Center (4,338) -- Washington, D.C. Television: CSN+. Home Record: UMass 11-0, GW 5-5. Away Record: UMass 3-4, GW 1-8. Neutral Record: UMass 2-2, GW 2-1. Conference Record: UMass 5-3, GW 3-5. Series Record: George Washington leads, 35-26.
GAME NOTES: The Massachusetts Minutemen take to the road on Saturday hoping to get back in the win column, as the Colonials of George Washington play host to an Atlantic-10 Conference matchup from the Smith Center.
Massachusetts lost a heart-breaker at Rhode Island on Wednesday, 81-78 in overtime. The visitors had chances on two three-pointers to win it at the end of regulation and to tie at the OT buzzer, but both were off the mark. Rhode Island started the extra session with a pair of field goals and closed things out with an 8-of-10 performance at the foul line. UMass managed to shoot pretty well overall, sinking 46.7 percent of its field goal attempts, but was done in by URI's Orion Outerbridge, who dropped a game-high 29 points on the Minutemen. Raphiael Putney had 18 points in defeat while Sean Carter scored 16 for UMass, which had won four of five games coming into that clash.
George Washington fell to Xavier at home on Wednesday, 59-58, as the Musketeers got a game-winning bucket from Tu Holloway with 30 seconds to play. The Colonials went the final 3:22 without a point and shot just 35.5 percent from the floor overall. GW was a woeful 9-of-33 on field goals in the second half alone but hung in on exceptional three-point shooting (10-of-21). Tony Taylor paced the effort with 20 points and five assists, while Nemanja Mikic totaled 19 points. Lasan Kromah added a double-double consisting of 11 points and 14 rebounds for the Colonials, who lost their third straight contest.
The Colonials hold a 35-26 edge in the all-time series and have won two in a row over UMass the last two seasons. The last win for the Minutemen in D.C. came back in 2008 with GW owning a hefty 20-7 advantage on its home floor.
The Minutemen feature the A-10's top scoring offense at 76.8 ppg, led by sophomore Chaz Williams, who had 12 points and eight assists versus Rhode Island but also a game-high nine turnovers. Williams also ranks second in the league in assists per game with 6.0. Putney is the club's only other double- figure scorer at 10.6 ppg but the Minutemen get steady contributions elsewhere with Jesse Morgan and Terrell Vinson posting 8.9 and 8.6 ppg, respectively. Vinson adds 5.6 rebounds per contest and Putney grabs 5.7 boards. Carter is the team's top rebounder at 6.6 per game and adds 8.0 ppg to the mix. UMass is the conference's leader in rebounding at 40.8 per game with a decent plus-2.8 margin. The Minutemen defense does enough to be effective in allowing 69.4 ppg and a 39.6 percent shooting clip. UMass shoots 43.4 percent from the floor overall.
The Colonials are at the opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to offense, ranking dead last in the A-10 in scoring at 61.6 ppg. However, GW's defense allows it to compete on most nights, holding the opposition to 65.4 ppg on 44.4 percent shooting. The Colonials shoot just 41.8 percent from the field and are paced by Taylor's 13.6 ppg. Kromah serves as the team's only other double-digit scorer at 10.7 ppg but shoots just 38.5 percent from the field. David Pellom is GW's third-best option at 8.8 ppg but has missed the last three games with a knee injury. Mikic also averages 8.8 ppg and is the club's leading three-point shooter with 41 on 37.6 percent shooting. Kromah is also the Colonials' top rebounder at 5.7 per game but overall they own a minus-1.1 average on the boards (34.4-33.3).
George Washington has too many shortcomings to overcome on most nights and remains very average on its home court (5-5). UMass should be able to take advantage and gain some ground in the A-10 standings.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Massachusetts 70, George Washington 62
02/04 10:54:21 ET