Preview: Men’s basketball vs. Fordham

Media Credit: File photo by Olivia Anderson | Photo Editor

Sophomore forward Javier Langarica looks to make a pass during Saturday's game against George Mason.

Who: Men’s basketball
Where: Smith Center, Washington D.C.
When: Wednesday, Jan. 30 at 7 p.m.

Men’s basketball will take on the worst team in the conference when the team faces off against Fordham Wednesday night.

The Colonials (6–14, 2–5 A-10) are coming off a loss to George Mason plagued by sloppy ball handling and turnovers. But GW has done better in conference play than the Rams (9–11, 0–7 A-10), a team that has yet to tally a win and most recently incurred a 23-point loss at the hands of Dayton.

The two teams last met in last year’s Atlantic 10 Championship, where GW squeezed by the Rams in the first round of play with a 78–72 victory.

Case for the Colonials:

GW strung together a solid attempt at a comeback in its last contest against George Mason, but 18 turnovers hindered the team’s chances at victory.

The Colonials must take better care of the ball against Fordham to earn a win. Although the Rams have struggled lately, their defense is among the top teams in the A-10 in terms of forcing turnovers in conference play, ranking at No. 5 with 14.7 turnovers forced per game. The Colonials will need to be cleaner with the ball both in the front and back court as sophomore guard Terry Nolan Jr. and sophomore forward Javier Langarica committed five and six turnovers, respectively, against George Mason.

The Rams have had a rough go of it in conference play so far, losing eight straight games. The Colonials will need to come out strong straight from tip-off to capitalize on Fordham’s lack of momentum coming into the matchup. If they can jump ahead early, the Colonials will overwhelm the Rams.

GW has had mixed results coming out of the gates this year. In some contests, like against Stony Brook and Dayton, the Colonials have garnered large leads right away only to peter out in the second half. But the squad will need to find a balance of early firepower and sustained scoring to stay in front of Fordham.

Case for the Rams:

Although Fordham has lost eight straight contests, the Rams have been a higher-scoring team than the Colonials, producing 68.1 points per game to GW’s 64.7 points per game.

The Rams will need to be selective with their shooting efforts to gain the advantage over GW. Fordham’s field goal percentage has been just 38.4 percent throughout A-10 play and the team is coming off a 29.5 percent effort from the field in their last game against Dayton. Although neither team’s offense is particularly high-scoring, if the Rams can focus on getting quality shots off rather than a high volume of shots, they will likely be able to keep the game competitive.

Fordham freshman guard Nick Honor has had a standout first-year campaign for Fordham. He has been a fixture in the Rams’ lineup, appearing in the starting five for all 20 of their games so far. Honor averages 15.8 points per game and has been one of Fordham’s biggest offensive assets.

The Colonials have also gotten themselves into foul trouble against teams that have utilized an offensive game plan of taking hard drives to the basket. Langarica sat out key minutes in GW’s last game after he was called for fouls on plays where his opponent made solid moves through the paint. If Fordham can utilize this strategy, they may be able to force some of the Colonials’ key players to the bench.

Bottom line:

Given the Rams’ recent woes, it seems that the Colonials are in a good position to add another tally to their wins column.

The Colonials will need to limit their turnovers, clog up the lane and stay out of foul trouble. If they can combine these aspects of play and sustain them for 40 minutes, their chances at victory are high.

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