Getting quality wins is very important this time of year for teams on the NCAA tournament bubble, but so is avoiding bad losses at all costs. George Washington faced that scenario Sunday afternoon as they hosted La Salle on NBC Sports Network. But the Explorers already owned upset wins over No. 15 Dayton and St. Bonaventure (both in Philadelphia), which undoubtedly got the attention of Mike Lonergan’s Colonials.
George Washington was ready to play from the outset, taking control early on in a game they’d go on to win by the final score of 90-50. Tyler Cavanaugh led the way for George Washington with 22 points and Patricio Garino added 19 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
Jordan Price led La Salle with 17 points, but he was the only Explorer who managed to get anything going offensively at the Smith Center.
Early in Colonial Athletic Association play, multiple teams made cases for themselves as contenders for the regular season title. But in recent weeks a clear favorite has emerged: UNCW. Kevin Keatts’s team won its 20th game of the season Saturday afternoon, moving to 12-2 in CAA play, with a 78-68 win over James Madison on NBC Sports Network.
The Seahawks, who have now won 11 straight games, were led offensively by Craig Ponder, who scored a team-high 19 points with Chris Flemmings adding 17 and 11 rebounds and Jordon Talley’s 15 points, four rebounds and four assists. UNCW shot just over 39 percent from the field, but they outscored James Madison 30-12 from beyond the arc and forced 17 JMU turnovers.
James Madison played without a key cog in leading scorer Ron Curry, who suffered a knee injury in the Dukes’ win at Charleston Thursday night. Tom Vodanovich scored 17 points and Winston Grays 15 for the Dukes, who are now 19-8 overall and 9-5 in CAA play.
George Mason ended its four-game losing streak in impressive fashion Sunday afternoon, as they scored a season-high 92 points in their 13-point win at Saint Louis on NBC Sports Network.
Guard Marquise Moore led the way for the Patriots, scoring 22 points while also accounting for ten rebounds and three assists. Five George Mason players scored in double figures, and Dave Paulsen’s team scored an average of 1.28 points per possession in their best offensive performance of the season to date.
Mike Crawford led Saint Louis, which is now also 1-4 in Atlantic 10 play, with 22 points. The Billikens hadn’t scored 75 or more points in a game since their win over Alabama A&M December 12, and they’ve now lost eight of their last nine games.
At the stage in the season, one of the players on the early lists for Atlantic 10 Player of the Year is Davidson guard Jack Gibbs. One of the nation’s top scorers, Gibbs reached the 40-point mark for the third time this season in the Wildcats’ 86-74 win over UMass Saturday afternoon on NBC Sports Network.
Gibbs scored 43 points while also grabbing eight rebounds and dishing out eight assists for Davidson, which moved to 3-2 in the Atlantic 10 with the win. Peyton Aldridge added 14 points and ten rebounds and Rusty Reigel scored ten points off the bench, and Davidson shot 24-for-26 from the foul line.
Trey Davis led three Minutemen in double figures with 30 points.
The first game of NBC Sports Network’s Atlantic 10 triple-header matched two teams with aspirations of contending for the conference title in Rhode Island and Saint Joseph’s. At Hagan Arena it was the host Hawks who moved to 2-1 in conference play, with DeAndre Bembry and Aaron Brown leading the way offensively in the 72-67 victory.
Bembry played all 40 minutes for Phil Martelli’s team, finishing with a game-high 22 points along with seven rebounds, five assists and three steals. Senior Aaron Brown added 19 points, shooting 4-for-4 from beyond the arc, and classmate Isaiah Miles scored ten points for the 12-3 Hawks.
Hassan Martin led three Rams in double figures with 20 points to go along with eight rebounds, but URI’s 16 turnovers were converted into 21 points by Saint Joseph’s.
UMass picked up a win in its first Atlantic 10 game of the season, beating La Salle 74-67 at Tom Gola Arena. Forward Seth Berger and guard Donte Clark led the way offensively, scoring 15 points apiece and combining to grab 13 rebounds. Berger attempted just six shots on the evening but made five of them for the Minutemen, who moved to 8-5 on the season with the win.
Jordan Price led the Explorers with 23 points but was made to work for them, as he shot 5-for-16 from the field. La Salle scored just three more points from three than UMass despite attempting 11 more of those shots, shooting 7-for-25 from distance with UMass at a more respectable 6-for-14.
UMass has now won three of its last four games, with the Explorers having dropped six straight.