Colonials put nation’s longest win streak on line against La Salle
(Sports Network) – The sixth-ranked George Washington Colonials will attempt
to stay perfect in A-10 play as they face the red hot La Salle Explorers
tonight. Don’t expect La Salle to be intimidated in this contest, as it
has won its last seven games to move to 17-7 overall and 9-4 in league
play. The most recent triumph occurred on Saturday by a 74-71 final
over Dayton. The Explorers have been a streaky team, as they suffered
through a five-game losing skid prior to the current run.
George Washington has reeled off a nation-high 14 straight wins since its
only loss of the campaign, a road setback to NC State way back in December.
The Colonials are coming off a 64-51 decision over Richmond on Saturday that
enabled them to improve to a perfect 13-0 at home. They own their highest
ranking in over 50 years and are off to their best start in the 99-year
history of the program. George Washington owns a 15-6 series lead over La
Salle, and the Colonials were last defeated by the Explorers three years ago.
Steven Smith has led La Salle in scoring in 17 of the team’s games thus far,
and he is quite simply the best player in the A-10. A talented senior forward
who decided to come back to school rather than enter the draft after last
season, Smith is averaging 19.6 ppg and 7.9 rpg. He gets some help at the
offensive end from Darnell Harris and Jermaine Thomas, as they are scoring
12.8 ppg and 12.3 ppg, respectively. Thomas has racked up 94 assists and
continues to run the show at the point. The Explorers are scoring 69.9 ppg
while surrendering 64.9 ppg to opponents.
In the most recent victory over Dayton, Smith was outstanding as usual with
25 points and eight boards. Thomas tallied 17 points to go along with five
assists, and Harris managed 16 points. An 18-11 edge in points from the
foul line and 50 percent shooting from the field benefited La Salle.
George Washington is averaging 79.5 ppg on 47.7 percent shooting from the
floor, and the team is limiting its opponents to 65.4 ppg on 41 percent
efficiency. Danilo Pinnock is the top scorer for the balanced group with 14.8
ppg, and Pops Mensah-Bonsu adds 13.3 ppg on 56.9 percent shooting from the
field. Mensah-Bonsu is also tied for the rebounding lead with 7.3 rpg, and he
has blocked 37 shots. Maureece Rice supplies 12.0 ppg, while Mike Hall (7.3
rpg) and Carl Elliott are scoring 11.1 ppg apiece.
In the win over Richmond last time out, Rice tallied 16 points to lead the
charge. Elliott added 13 points for the Colonials, who connected on 52.1
percent of their field goal attempts and finished with 15 assists against
eight turnovers. A 35-25 rebounding advantage also helped matters.