Having dropped three of the last four games, George Washington was in a position where they needed a win over George Mason to get back on track. Without a “bad” loss on its resume Mike Lonergan’s team is well-positioned to earn the program’s first NCAA tournament berth since 2007, and the Colonials took another step forward with a 66-58 win over George Mason.
For teams looking to ensure their spot in the 68-team field it’s just as important to avoid damaging losses as it is to pick up quality wins. George Washington managed to do this despite committing 16 turnovers, with their superior three-point shooting being one of the deciding factors. The Colonials outscored the Patriots 24-9 from beyond the arc, with Maurice Creek making four of their eight three-pointers on the afternoon.
Creek scored a game-high 22 points to go along with five rebounds, leading four George Washington starters in double figures, and Isaiah Armwood added 11 to go along with 14 rebounds, three assists and three steals. George Washington’s had to deal with injuries for much of the season, and guard Kethan Savage is still out with with a broken bone in his in his left foot.
The Colonials have persevered however, a the reward in the form of an NCAA tournament berth is well within their reach.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.
The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.