Courtesy of GWSports.com
WASHINGTON – GW men’s basketball got career efforts from Patricio Garino, Kevin Larsen and Isaiah Armwood to top preseason Atlantic 10 favorite VCU, 76-66, before a raucous, sell-out crowd at the Charles E. Smith Center on Tuesday night.
The largest home crowd (4,874) since GW’s legendary win over Charlotte to cap a perfect 2006 A-10 regular season witnessed quite a night at the Smith Center as the Colonials improved to 14-3 overall, extended their Smith Center win streak to 10 games, stayed perfect at home this season at 9-0, and inducted alumnus and former men’s basketball standout Mike Brey (’82) into the GW Athletic Hall of Fame at halftime.
Garino scored a career-high 25 points, including 17 in the second half, on 8-of-14 shooting and added seven rebounds and three steals to help the Colonials to their first win over the Rams in five tries. Larsen matched his previous career-high of 17 points by halftime and finished with 22 on 9-of-11 shooting along with seven rebounds. Armwood chipped in his third consecutive double-double with 11 points and career-high tying 14 boards along with four blocks.
Despite Larsen’s nearly flawless first half (17 pts., 7-8 FG), GW and VCU traded blows to the tune of 15 ties and four lead changes over the opening 20 minutes. The Rams started 6-of-8 behind the arc, taking a 25-20 lead on a Rob Brandenburg triple with 7:35 left in the first half. Larsen scored the next six points, igniting a 16-4 run that was punctuated by a viciousKethan Savage dunk and Maurice Creek’s buzzer-beating drive that gave the Colonials a 36-29 halftime cushion and a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
VCU (13-4, 1-1 A-10) got within a possession of the lead at 36-33 to open the second half, but GW responded with a 10-2 run to open a double-digit lead, 46-35, with 15:51 remaining. The Rams made another surge midway through the period, using a 9-2 spurt to trim their deficit to 61-57 with six minutes to play. The Colonials attacked the VCU pressure, scoring their final five field goals in the paint, including three key baskets by Garino, to stave off the Rams’ late comeback attempts.
Led by Armwood, GW (14-3, 2-1 A-10) shot 56 percent (27-48), its second-best performance of the season, and held a commanding 45-29 rebounding edge led by Armwood’s career-night. The Colonials also enjoyed a 46-30 advantage in points in the paint, shot twice as many foul shots, and held the Rams to 3-of-20 behind the arc over the final 27 minutes.
GW returns to action at St. Bonaventure on Saturday, Jan. 18, at 7 p.m. The contest will air live on FederalNewsRadio.comand 1500 AM, and will be streamed for free through the A-10 Digital Network.
– GW –