George Washington-DePaul Preview
George Washington is enjoying its early success and a deserving spot in the Top 25 while not growing too overconfident.
The No. 20. Colonials expect to maintain that focus Tuesday night against struggling DePaul in their first true road game in more than a month.
George Washington (10-1) entered the poll for the first time since the end of the 2005-06 season last week and moved up one spot this week following Saturday's 87-74 win over Saint Peter's. The Colonials are trying to open winners in 11 of 12 for the second time in three seasons.
''I mean (being ranked is) pretty awesome. I can't lie,'' said 6-foot-10 Kevin Larsen, who recorded his third double-double of the season with 11 points and 11 rebounds Saturday.
''That's why we came here. It's just an enjoyable time. But we've still got a lot to do and we'll continue to work hard.''
Larsen is one of three seniors in a starting lineup that's paced by Wake Forest transfer Tyler Cavanaugh (16.3 points per game). The junior forward averaged 19.3 points in the last three games and went 13 of 17 from the field in the last two.
Cavanaugh scored 18 to lead four players in double figures as the Colonials shot a season-high 55.2 percent against the Peacocks. Averaging 78.5 points, George Washington has six players scoring at least 8.6 per contest.
''We don't care who scores 20 points or who doesn't,'' said senior swingman Patricio Garino, who scored 16 on 8-of-12 shooting Saturday after going 6 of 22 for 15 points in the previous three contests.
The Colonials never trailed Saturday, but they weren't pleased with allowing Saint Peter's to shoot 57.1 percent after halftime and cutting a 23-point lead to 11 at one point.
''We got a little sluggish in the second half,'' Larsen said. ''It happens, but we've got to be better than that. Be more mature.''
That's an approach George Washington expects to maintain in their second true road game. The Colonials held South Florida to 35.4 percent shooting in a 73-67 road win Nov. 19.
George Washington shot 57.1 percent in an 81-68 home win over the Blue Demons last season as Garino scored 19 while Larsen and fellow senior Joe McDonald each had 18.
DePaul (5-6) has averaged 58.0 points and shot 39.0 percent during a three-game losing streak. Though the Blue Demons held Northwestern to 39.1 percent from the field Saturday, they shot a season-low 34.8 and lost at home in overtime 78-70.
"Poor shot selection is a by-product of execution," said coach Dave Leitao, in his second stint at DePaul. "But a lack of execution has you playing against the shot clock and leads to not taking good shots."
Shooting 59.2 percent to rank second in the Big East, DePaul's Myke Henry (14.2 ppg) scored a season-high 24 despite going 7 of 16 from the field Saturday. He hit four of his five 3-point attempts en route to a 22-point game against George Washington last season.
The Blue Demons haven't played a ranked team this season but did snap a 49-game skid against Top 25 foes last season with a victory over No. 24 Seton Hall.