Who: GW (18-4, 6-2) vs. Fordham University (9-12, 2-6)
When: Saturday @ 4 p.m.
Where: Smith Center
Case for Fordham:
The Rams enter Saturday’s game near the bottom of the Atlantic 10, but are coming off a six-point victory over Rhode Island on Feb. 1. Fourth-year head coach Tom Pecora and his squad will look to snap a 10-game losing skid against the Colonials in games played in the District.
To do so, Pecora will look to his trio of top performing guards to get the job done.
The Rams have three players that rank in the Top 20 of the conference in scoring. Freshman guard Jon Severe spearheads the team’s offense, averaging a conference leading 19.5 points per game. Severe also leads the league with 3.1 three-point field goals made per game, but despite his offensive dominance, don’t expect him to get the start. In Fordham’s past two games, Pecora has started junior Chris Whitehead in place of Severe, utilizing the freshman as more of a sixth man. The Rams are 1-1 when Severe starts on the bench.
Fordham’s leadership comes from senior guard Branden Frazier. In a conference leading 36.9 minutes per game, Frazier ranks fourth in the conference in scoring at 17.6 points per game and is tied for fourth in the league at 4.3 assists per game. Rounding out the Rams scoring is sophomore guard Mandell Thomas, who averages 12.9 points per game.
Fordham also possesses one of the better defensive players in the conference in sophomore Ryan Rhoomes. Rhoomes ranks sixth in the conference in rebounding averaging 7.9 boards per game, and leads the best offensive rebounding team in the conference (averaging 14.5 offensive rebounds per game) at 3.8 offensive rebounds per game.
As a team the Rams average 73.6 points per game, but shoot a conference worst 39.9 percent from the field. The Rams average 7.4 three’s per game, without a single player on the roster ranking in the Top 15 in the conference in three point percentage. Fordham finds their strength in rebounding, and rank No. 55 in the nation, and second in the conference at 38 rebounds per game.
Case for GW:
Coming off a 71-57 win over Duquesne Wednesday, the Colonials will look to continue that momentum and extend their home streak to 12-0 at Homecoming this Saturday.
GW will look to get all of their offensive weapons going against a Fordham team that has the worst scoring defense in the league, allowing opponents to score a whopping 77.7 points per game while shooting 44.8 percent from the field.
The Colonials rank third in the conference shooting 47.0 percent from the field, and average 74.4 points per game.
Sophomore forward Kevin Larsen continues to put up big numbers for GW. After a 13 point, seven rebound performance against Duqesne, Larsen is now averaging 15.7 points and 6.3 rebounds in his last seven games. He currently ranks sixth in the conference in shooting percentage at 56.6 percent. Sophomore Patricio Garino has also produced for the Colonials since A-10 play, scoring in double figures his past four games, including a game-high 17 point performance Wednesday.
Along with his offense, Larsen will need to team up with frontcourt running mate, senior Isaiah Armwood, to win the battle on the boards against the Rams, who despite being one of the best rebounding teams in the league, also allow 39.2 rebounds per game. GW is currently first in the conference in rebound margin at +4.9.
On the other end of the court, the Colonials will look to continue their solid defensive play. GW ranks second in the conference in both field goal defense, holding opponents to 40.7 percent from the field, and scoring defense, allowing just 65.3 points per game. One focus for GW will be to pressure the Rams’ top players in Severe and Frazier, who combine for a total of 117 turnovers this season.
Along with expected defensive pressure from sophomore Patricio Garino, head coach Mike Lonergan will look to sophomore Joe McDonald and graduate student Maurice Creek to creep closer to their early season form after both made returning to the floor Wednesday.
Note: Kwame Evans (’96), the fifth all-time leading scorer in GW men’s basketball history, is scheduled to be inducted into the GW Athletic Hall of Fame during halftime.