BROOKLYN, N.Y. — The VCU men’s basketball team will face the George Washington University Colonials in the semifinals of the Atlantic 10 tournament on Saturday afternoon.
The Rams topped the University of Richmond 71-53, and the Colonials defeated the University of Massachusetts 85-77 in its respective quarterfinal games Friday to set up the third matchup of the season.
VCU and GW split a pair of regular season meetings, with each team defending its home court. The Colonials beat VCU 76-66 at the Charles E. Smith Center in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 14 before the Rams edged GW 92-75 at the Siegel Center on Feb. 14.
The Rams will have their hands full with three of the conference’s top-25 scorers in Maurice Creek (14.6 ppg) Patricio Garino (12.3 ppg) and Isaiah Armwood (12.3 ppg), but it was forward Kevin Larsen who scored a career-high 17 points in the first half alone in GW’s Jan. 14 victory against VCU.
For head coach Shaka Smart’s team, it will be senior Rob Brandenberg looking to improve upon two strong performances against the Colonials. Brandenberg totaled 32 points on 12-21 shooting combined in both contests, while junior Treveon Graham exploded for 25 points and 10 rebounds in VCU’s Feb. 14 victory.
VCU’s pressure defense was effective in both regular season matchups, turning GW over a combined 43 times. Colonials head coach Mike Lonergan says his team will need to avoid mistakes Saturday if they want to win the rubber match.
“We’re really going to have to handle the ball better than we did tonight (against U.Mass.) and the game (at VCU in February),” he said. “As you saw tonight, under pressure, we don’t have a lot of ball handlers.”
VCU and GW will tip-off at 4 p.m. Saturday as the Rams seek to appear in their second consecutive A-10 title game.