Hofstra (3-3) at George Washington (1-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 24, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Charles E. Smith Center (4,338) -- Washington, D.C. Television:None. Home Record: Hofstra 3-0, GW 0-1. Away Record: Hofstra 0-3, GW 1-1. Neutral Record: Hofstra 1-1, GW 0-0. Conference Record: Hofstra 0-0, GW 0-0. Series Record: Hofstra leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Hofstra Pride head south to the nation's capital for a non- conference clash with the George Washington Colonials.
Hofstra managed to take down the defending Summit League champion South Dakota State Jackrabbits by three points, and a tough Marshall Thundering Herd squad in a double-overtime thriller, also by three points, to sweep through the Hempstead region of the 2K Sports Classic last weekend. The Pride will try to begin a new streak after having their momentum stopped by the return of George Beamon, who scored 29 points to lead the Manhattan Jaspers to an 11-point win over the Colonial Athletic Association school on Wednesday. The loss dropped the team to 3-3, but it is safe to say Mo Cassara's squad has exceeded expectations early on.
The Colonials have less on their odometer so far with just three games under their belt. They have not been overly impressive in their brief body of work however, as their 1-2 record features losses versus Youngstown State (80-73) and at Notre Dame (65-48), with the lone win coming over the less-formidable Boston University Terriers. George Washington's lack of toughness up front has led to a -1.0 average margin in the rebounding battle. Coach Mike Lonergan took over a program in the midst of a rebuilding process last season and finished 10-21 overall. The climb back to relevance was not an overnight process as GW does not look like the Atlantic 10 Conference contender it was just a few seasons ago.
The Pride's three losses have been by double-digit margins and their two wins over Division I competition have been by only three points each. The magic number for the team is 40, as it was held under 40 percent shooting from the floor in all three setbacks and reached that rate or higher in its wins. One easy way to improve the team's offense quickly is to get the ball to Taran Buie. The sophomore transfer from Penn State has reached double figures in scoring in three of four games and really made an impact his last time out with a career-high 22 points. Freshman forward Jimmy Hall has also made an immediate splash in his first stint with the Pride. The 6-foot-7, 215-pound rookie leads the team in total points with 76, which is good for 12.7 ppg, and he is also pulling down 9.7 boards per contest. Sophomore guard Shaquille Stokes (26 pts vs. Marshall) and senior Stevie Mejia (11.2 ppg, 3.3 apg) round out a deep backcourt, while Moussa Kone (7.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg) is serviceable playing alongside Hall at forward.
GW is being outscored by 3.7 ppg, but it is playing well at the defensive end by holding its opponents to 68 ppg. The team lost its three leading scorers from last season, including star point guard Tony Taylor. The departure of Taylor paved the way for freshman guard Joe McDonald to slide right into the starting five. McDonald was the catalyst in the team's win with 21 points and seven rebounds, but he was locked down by Notre Dame his next time out. Junior forward Isaiah Armwood really stands out for GW in his first season eligible since transferring from Villanova. The 6-foot-9, 210-pound forward leads the squad with 12 points, 7.3 boards, and 3.0 blocks per contest.
The Pride was not the same on the road in Manhattan as it was in Hempstead the previous weekend. Both of these teams have some vital components with hardly any collegiate experience. Hofstra may be able to pull off the road win if it can limit Armwood and McDonald, as they are the only Colonials that opponents need to worry about at this point.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Hofstra 67, George Washington 63
11/24 10:37:36 ET