After two home wins over Saint Joseph’s and Duquesne last week, the GW men’s basketball team will have a tough time extending their winning streak to three games when No. 23 Xavier visits the Smith Center Tuesday night.
The Musketeers (15-4, 6-1 Atlantic 10) will present an immediate mismatch with the presence of preseason All-American forward David West (19.1 ppg. 12.1 rpg), who will have help from guard Romain Sato (16.7 ppg, 7.5 rpg). West just tallied his 14th double double of the season (60th of his career) in Xavier’s 66-52 win over Richmond Saturday, the Musketeers’ sixth-straight victory.
“Individually, we don’t (match-up with West),” GW head coach Karl Hobbs said. “He is as good a player as there is in the country. He has help with the other big man (Anthony) Myles and now (Lionel) Chalmers is back, so they’re in full swing. It’s going to take a full team effort, but (West) is just so good that one man so far hasn’t been able to stop him.”
Coming off back-to-back wins, the Colonials will enter the game with a bit of momentum themselves, but will have to make up for significant gaps in talent and experience. West has tallied double doubles in 10 of his last 11 games and is shooting 49 percent from the field this season.
For the Colonials to pull off the upset, a heavy scoring burden will likely fall on senior Chris Monroe and sophomore T.J. Thompson, the only two Colonials averaging double figures in scoring. Xavier boasts three double digit scorers – West, Sato and Chalmers. More importantly, GW’s young frontcourt players will have a tough time scoring in the paint with the presence of West and Myles (6-foot-9, 245 lbs.).
Still, Hobbs said his team’s flexibility will give the Colonials some help against the more powerful and experienced Xavier squad.
“The thing I like about my team is that we’re very versatile,” Hobbs said.
“We played a different kind of game against St. Joe’s than we did against Duquesne, and we will have to play different against Xavier than we did (against Duquesne). The main thing for us is to be able to maintain our focus and concentration.”