'Revolutionary Rivalry' renews: GW hosts GMU

'Revolutionary Rivalry' renews: GW hosts GMU
March 2, 2014, 1:00 am
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(Rafael Suanes-USA TODAY Sports)

Matchup: George Mason (10-17, 3-10 Atlantic 10) vs. George Washington (20-7, 8-5)

When: Sunday, 1 p.m.

Where: Smith Center

Broadcast: TV - NBCSN, Radio - 1500 AM.

Streaks: The Patriots snapped a two-game losing streak with Tuesday's 69-60 home win over Richmond. George Washington, off since falling at No. 10 Saints Louis on February 22, has dropped three of four games.

History: GW improved to 11-2 in the series by taking the inaugural "Revolutionary Rivalry" matchup 75-69 on January 25 at the Patriot Center. The Colonials are 9-0 at home against George Mason with the most recent meeting coming in December 2009.

KenPom: George Mason 120, George Washington 43

RPI: George Mason 149, George Washington 29

Coaches: George Mason - Paul Hewitt; George Washington - Mike Lonergan

Leaders: Patriots- Scoring (Sherrod Wright, 15.7), Rebounding (Jalen Jenkins, 6.3), Assists (Markel Starks, 3.8); Colonials - Scoring (Maurice Creek, 13.7), Rebounding (Isaiah Armwood, 8.5), Assists (Joe McDonald, 4.0)

Links: For NCAA's, GW hopes early work offsets recent skid 

What's at stake: The Colonials are still pushing for a top-4 finish in the A-10 in order to receive a double-bye in the conference tournament. GW enters Sunday 1/2 game behind fourth place Massachusetts.

With a win the Patriots would jump from 12th to a tie with Duquesne for 10th in the conference.

When last we met: GW took the lead for good early in the second half then took control with a 16-4 run for a 16 points with 4:20 remaining. Center Kevin Larsen and point guard Joe McDonald paced five double-digit scorers with 14 points apiece. Johnny Williams led George Mason with 18 points. Jalen Jenkins added 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Wright is right: One sure sign Lonergan is talking up the Patriots' leading scorer to his own players: The GW coach recited Wright's recent stats from memory. Over the last six games, 22.7 points on 58 percent shooting from the field. The 6-foot-4 senior guard has made at least half attempts in seven straight games. All those performances came immediately after the Colonials, led by 6-foot-6 all-conference defender Patricio Garino, held Wright to nine points.

"Luckily for us it's a good matchup," Lonergan said. "Patricio is a really good defender."

Fellow senior guard Allen, one of seven upperclassmen on the roster, has scored at least 16 points in six of his last seven games.

"They've got experience," Lonergan said. "That's why everyone was surprised they weren't winning early because they've got a pretty good nucleus with Wright and Bryon Allen. Those guys have been there and won a lot of games. Jenkins is playing well."

Wanna know what you're playing for?: This year GW and GMU started the "Revolutionary Rivalry," an annual competition between the new A-10 rivals separated by less than 20 miles. Fine, we knew this already. We also knew a trophy was at stake. Now we know the tri-corner hat trophy looks like. Yes, worth playing for indeed. George Mason leads the competition 6-5.

Home Sweet Home: The Colonials are 12-1 at the Smith Center, though the one loss came most recent, February 15 against Massachusetts. In its home games, GW is averaging 79 points and shooting 50 percent from the field with a +16.8 scoring margin. George Mason is 3-7 on the road this season.