Guess who’s tied for first in the Atlantic 10 standings? It’s the Charlotte 49ers, who are locked in a three-way tie for the top spot with Xavier and VCU after those two teams suffered their first A-10 losses this past week (the Musketeers to Charlotte in Halton on Wednesday night). One game stands between the Niners and Homecoming, and that’s George Washington in our nation’s capital.
Charlotte 49ers (16-3, 4-1 A-10) @ George Washington Colonials (9-9, 3-2 A-10)
Saturday, January 26, 2pm
Charles E. Smith Athletic Center
Radio: ESPN 730, Charlotte49ers.com | TV: WJZY-TV (CW 46)
Isaiah Armwood (12.1 ppg) is the Colonials’ leading scorer and rebounder (8.3 per). Behind him is Patircio Garino (9.6 ppg) and Lasah Kromah (9.4). Outside of that, GW doesn’t have a whole lot of scorers.
Charlotte will win if…
- They can break through a stingy GW defense. The Colonials are tied with–ironically–the Niners for the 3rd least points allowed per game in the conference (62.3). That means, just as we mentioned before the Xavier game, finding creative ways to score. GW can be beaten in the paint (they gave up 38 points inside at UMass) so that may be key–that’s where Chris Braswell and Willie Clayton come into play.
- Related to our first point, the Niners need to hold on D themselves. GW only scores 65.1 points per game (3rd worst in the league) to Charlotte’s 11th ranked 68.4. Expect a low-scoring affair, but if the visitors can keep the home team at their average, they just might be able to squeak one out. This includes forcing GW into miscues, something the Colonials have had trouble with for much of the year but have stemmed in recent games.
- Don’t take GW for granted. At this point in time, the Niners can’t afford to take anyone for granted (see: Richmond). They’ll need to avoid getting wrapped up in the standings and take each game one-by-one.
- Keep DeMario Mayfield involved in the game plan. After a rough first half, Mayfield turned it on a little in the 2nd half against Xavier. He’ll certainly need to be at his best tonight. Also, can Darion Clark and Denzel Ingram carry over their strong play from Wednesday night?
- Rebound. The Niners were badly beaten on the offensive boards and will need to avoid that in future games. GW is a good rebounding team, but haven’t yet been able to match Charlotte’s output.
- Finally, free throws. Charlotte went 14-29 from the line against Xavier. I hate to keep bringing this up each game, but it’s been a sticking point for this group the entire year. That’s 15 free points being left on the floor, and even if they went 24-29, they would have gotten themselves 10 points.