Preview: Men’s basketball at Richmond

What: Men’s basketball (12-10, 4-5 A-10) at Richmond (13-9, 7-3 A-10)

When: Saturday, Feb. 4 at 2:30 p.m.

Where: Robins Center, Richmond, Va.

After notching three straight wins in Atlantic 10 play, men’s basketball fell to Rhode Island on the road Tuesday. The Colonials will look to rebound this weekend against Richmond, which sits at third conference standings.

On Jan. 8, GW hosted the Spiders at the Smith Center and was defeated in one of only two home losses this season.  Since then, Richmond has gone 4-3, dropping contests to Dayton, George Mason and VCU.

The case for the Colonials:

Despite the loss to Rhode Island, GW has looked better recently. They shot a stellar 49.1 percent from the field and 50 percent from behind the arc on Tuesday. They have benefitted from solid production of the bench including graduate student Patrick Steeves, sophomore Jordan Roland and freshman Collin Smith.

Graduate student forward Tyler Cavanaugh imposed his will during the last matchup against Richmond. He finished with 22 points and 7 rebounds while shooting 7-for-7 from the line. The Colonials will rely on Cavanaugh to find similar success offensively.

The Colonials boast the most efficient and highest volume three-point shooting team in the conference. They have knocked down 78 shots from behind the arc at a 41.9 percent clip. Although GW has had challenges winning the battle in the paint, the team’s ability to space out the floor is a weapon capable of changing outcomes.

GW will look to find an advantage on the boards because Richmond has one of the worst rebounding margins in the league. They only pick up an average of 32.4 boards a night compared to 37.4 of their opponents.

The case for the Spiders:

GW’s defense has not been good. The Spiders shot an outstanding 61.5 percent on the game at the Smith Center and featured four players with double-digit scoring totals.

The Colonials defense has still been struggling through January. Their opponents have shot over 50 percent in four of their last seven games, averaging 72.7 points per contest.

Richmond’s defense has been performing at a mid-tier level, but they will look to take as much advantage as possible offensively. They are fifth in the A-10 in scoring and second in field goal percentage.

Senior forward T.J. Cline leads the Spiders with 18.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. Despite his mediocre shooting percentage from distance, he was on fire against GW and will undoubtedly be a focus of the Colonials defense.

The Bottom Line:

Richmond has been the better team so far this season and has already picked up a game on the Colonials. It is the Spiders game to lose, but an improved defense from the Colonials combined with a continued offensive effort could be a deadly combination.

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