Surging GW hosts Rutgers, Eddie Jordan

Surging GW hosts Rutgers, Eddie Jordan
December 3, 2013, 9:00 pm
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(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)

Matchup: George Washington (6-1; Atlantic 10) vs. Rutgers (4-4, American Athletic Conference)

Broadcast: TV - Comcast SportsNet, 7:00 p.m.

Location: Washington, D.C, Smith Center

Projected starting lineups: Colonials –- G Joe McDonald, G Maurice Creek, G Kethan Savage, F Isaiah Armwood, C Kevin Larsen...Scarlett Knights –-  G Myles Mack, G Jerome Seagears, F Kadeem Jack, F Wally Judge, F J.J. Moore

Coaches: George Washington -- Mike Lonergan (1st year); Rutgers --Eddie Jordan (1st year)

Recently: The Colonials won two of three games at last week's Wooden Legacy. After defeating Miami and falling to No. 25 Marquette, George Washington upset No. 20 Creighton on Sunday, 60-53. Larsen paced four double-digit scorers with 14 points. ...Rutgers continued its skidding ways last Tuesday. The Scarlett Knights fell 73-72 at home to 2-6 Fairleigh Dickinson, their loss in four games. Worth noting that Jack, the team's leading scorer and rebounder, did not play due to a sore leg, but is expected to face the Colonials.

KenPom: George Washington 65, Rutgers 200

Rutgers: The intriguing subplot is the return of D.C. area native Jordan, who starred locally at Archbishop Carroll High School, coached the Washington Wizards from 2003-2009 and now holds the same job at his Alma mater. Lonergan also attended Carroll.

What to watch:

1) Winning late - Last season, the Colonials found themselves in tight games against superior teams including Kansas State, Temple, Butler and Massachusetts in the A-10 tournament. Based on the phrasing of that previous sentence, you can probably guess GW lost those games. Not the case at the Wooden Legacy. The Colonials trailed against Miami and Creighton only to rally for the win. Trailing 53-50 with less than two minutes remaining, they closed the game with a 10-0, making their final six free throws.

"Those are games we would have lost last year," Colonials coach told CSNwashington during a phone interview Tuesday night. "We played very tough with a lot of good teams but we always - actually we didn't find ways to lose, we just couldn't find enough ways to win. Couldn't score in crunch time. Now we have different players making plays for us."

2) Armwood and dangerous: Lost amid the Colonials 13-17 campaign last season was Isaiah Armwood's strong work on both ends of the court. Plenty of notice is flowing the agile 6-foot-9 senior's way after stellar defensive performance against Creighton's All-American candidate Doug McDermott. Known more for his interior work - he leads the Colonials with 2.9 blocks and 7.7 rebounds - Armwood chased McDermott all over the court, holding the sharpshooter to 2 of 12 from the field. Expect a more traditional battle in the paint against the 6-foot-9 Jack.

3) Shoot this - Improved 3-point shooting has keyed the Colonials strong start. Led by Creek and Nemanja Mikic, GW ranks 20th nationally with a 42.5 percent shooting clip from beyond the arc. Meanwhile Rutgers, 208th in the country defending the 3-point line, allowed FDU to make 11 of 23.

"I think that's big. That's all we did today in practice," Lonergan said. "We feel that with Isaiah and Kevin playing well, [Rutgers] will have to try and take the inside game away. So we're thinking we going to get some open 3's and hopefully we'll be able to make them back home at the Smith Center.

4) Depth - Lonergan essentially only used seven players against Creighton, including Patricio Garino. The sophomore guard and defensive presence has averaged 6.5 points in four games since undergoing surgery on a broken finger shortly before the season tipped, though he sat the win over Miami. Look for more minutes for guards Miguel Cartagena and Nick Grififn off the bench against a Rutgers squad loaded in the backcourt.

On deck: On Sunday, George Washington and Maryland will meet for the 10th time in the 19th edition of the BB&T Classic and the first time since 2008.