GW will put its undefeated Atlantic 10 record and 11-game winning streak on the line against 10-10 Saint Joseph’s, who went undefeated in A-10 play in 2003-2004, in Philadelphia Saturday. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN2, giving the Colonials another chance to prove they deserve their No. 8 ranking in front of a national audience.
With a win at Alumni Fieldhouse – where GW has never won under coach Karl Hobbs – the Colonials will eclipse the best start to a season, set by the 1953-1954 Colonials.
The 19-1 Colonials’ record is impressive at first glance, but the Colonials have played what some may consider an easier schedule than the Hawks, who led at halftime against No. 4 Villanova Tuesday and have close losses against top-20 teams like Ohio State and Gonzaga.
Saint Joseph’s is led by their guard combination of senior Chet Stachitas and sophomore Abdulai Jalloh, a D.C.-area product, who leads Saint Joseph’s in scoring coming into the game, averaging 15.5 points. Stachitas is 5th in the A-10 in three-pointers and a verages 14 points per game.
GW has been inconsistent in stopping good three-point shooters thus far and has played inferior teams closely when their opponents have gotten hot from outside. GW has been slow in covering shooters when their opponents reverse the ball around the court, as was the case against Xavier Feb. 2.
“I think we got to approach it the same way we approached Xavier, to an extent,” senior forward Pops Mensah-Bonsu said. “We have to be focused, we have to make sure we’re prepared and have no slippage when we get down there.”
GW beat the Hawks by 12 at the Smith Center Jan. 14, a game in which Jalloh shot just two-for-eight from the field and scored nine points. The Hawks showed they can play with a team that is considered to be their superior for 20 minutes, but keeping it up for an entire game is something different, and considerably more difficult.
The game is just the second nationally televised game for the eighth-ranked Colonials, coming nine days after the game at Xavier. GW does not get many chances to play in front of the whole country.
“They are a very good basketball team,” Hobbs said of the Hawks. “They are very dangerous because they can make threes. When you have teams that could put four guys on the court that can make threes, it doesn’t make a difference what the score or what the lead isthey are always in the game. And we’ve never won there. That’s something we have to try to go overcome.”
-Jake Sherman contributed to this report.