By Sean Kennedy
George Washington 76, Saint Joseph’s 71
Dayton did their part in upsetting Saint Louis Wednesday, but the Hawks couldn’t help themselves out, as they fell to George Washington to eliminate any chance of winning the A-10 regular season title. Fighting for their tournament lives and playing on Senior Night, George Washington came out with a strong, balanced team effort to take down the Hawks. Maurice Creek and Joe McDonald each hit 4 threes to score 20 and 18 points, respectively. Patricio Garino added 17 points off the bench and Isaiah Armwood had a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
St. Joe’s struggled against GW’s zone defense, shooting just 8-26 from three, including a 2-9 from usual marksman Langston Galloway. DeAndre Bembry led the Hawks with 22 points, while Ronald Roberts contributed 16 points on 7-8 shooting and 8 rebounds. St. Joe’s can still lock up a top-4 seed and the crucial double-bye in the A-10 tournament with a win in their final game against La Salle or a loss from a handful of teams, so this is only a minor setback for the Hawks.
7:00 PM: Villanova (26-3, 14-2 Big East) @ Xavier (20-10, 10-7 Big East) – Fox Sports 1
With Creighton losing its last two games, Villanova now finds itself on the precipice of a Big East regular season title. All that stands between the Wildcats and that honor is a win in one of their final two regular season games, starting Thursday night in Ohio. The Wildcats trounced the Musketeers a month ago behind 27 points from senior James Bell. After being held scoreless in Villanova’s last game against Marquette, Bell still needs 6 points to reach 1,000 on the career and will look to duplicate his previous effort against Xavier.
Whereas Villanova is looking to win the conference title and hold on to a possible 2 seed in the NCAA tournament, Xavier is trying to secure their spot in the tournament field. They’re currently projected as a 9 seed in the field of 68, and with a win over Creighton a week ago, another upset victory over a top-10 team would cement their spot. Leading scorer Semaj Christon has been on a nice tear recently, scoring 21 points against Creighton and a season-high-tying 28 points last game against Seton Hall. Still, the Wildcats have plenty of offensive weapons to throw at the Musketeers, and they can smell a conference title; VIllanova will be up to the challenge against Xavier.
8:00 PM: La Salle (14-14, 6-8 A-10) vs. George Mason (10-18, 3-11 A-10) – NBC Sports Network
Having compiled a two-game winning streak against teams in the bottom half of the A-10, the Explorers hope that trend continues when they face a George Mason team currently second-to-last in the standings. Thursday night is Senior Night for the Explorers, as they’ll honor three starters in Tyreek Duren, Tyrone Garland, and Sam Mills. This group will always be known for the magical run they helped take the program on last season. Duren, especially, has left his mark on the program, setting the school record for steals for a freshman, and generally being one of the better players in the area during his 4-year run.
In their first season since moving over from the CAA, the Patriots are striving to win one of their last two games and avoid playing in the 12/13 play-in game in the Atlantic 10 conference tournament. Senior guards Sherrod Wright and Bryon Allen lead the team offensively, each averaging 15 points per game, as they’ve picked up their game of late. George Mason has won 3 of its last 6 games, a marked improvement after starting the conference schedule 0-8. Still, with emotions running high for La Salle on Senior Night, the Explorers should come out on top.