Owning its highest ranking in more than 50 years, No. 8 George Washington seeks its 11th straight victory, and tries to match the best start in school history when it hosts Dayton on Wednesday.
The Colonials (18-1, 8-0 Atlantic 10) moved up two spots in the rankings on Monday, their highest since being seventh the week of Jan. 3, 1956, and can match the 19-1 start set by the 1953-54 team.
The key to George Washington’s success has been its balanced scoring, with five players averaging in double figures. Junior guard Danilo Pinnock leads the team with 15.0 points per game.
“I’d hate to be a team that had to prepare for us, knowing that anybody can go off,” Pinnock said. “What would happen if they all went off at the same time? So I think being balanced is great. It keeps those guys on their toes.”
George Washington has been dominant at home, winning by an average of nearly 21 points en route to an 11-0 mark. The Colonials are averaging 81.6 points per game and have posted 85.3 points over the last seven games.
Pinnock and Pops Mensah-Bonsu each scored 16 points as the Colonials routed Richmond 80-55 on Sunday. George Washington forced 22 turnovers, including 14 in the first half.
“Our intensity was terrific,” coach Karl Hobbs said. “I thought we forced them to have to play the way we wanted them to play. They had been able to dictate their style of play against everyone and we wanted to make sure that they had to play the way we wanted them to play.”
While Richmond attempted to slow the tempo, Hobbs believes that Dayton (11-12, 3-6) will try to match his team’s fast style of play.
“It’s going to be a bit of a track meet,” Hobbs said. “They play very fast (and) we have to try and slow them down, but yet play at our same speed.
“They’re a team that’s going to come in here with a sense of desperation because they really need to win a game. And all the games we’ve had with them have come down to the wire, so this game will be no different.”
George Washington has won three straight against Dayton by a total of only 14 points.
The Flyers were held to their lowest point total in Atlantic 10 play in a 62-49 loss at Charlotte on Saturday, falling to 0-4 in conference road games. Dayton was outrebounded 48-38 and surrendered 14 on the offensive end.
“The difference in the game was on the offensive glass,” Dayton coach Brian Gregory said. “We got nine offensive rebounds, which isn’t bad because we were only sending three players to the glass. But we only got five second-chance points from our nine rebounds. They had 14 offensive rebounds, but they had 24 second-chance points.”
Dayton forward Monty Scott is expected to miss his fourth straight game due to a stress fracture in his left foot. Scott is second on the team with 11.4 points per game.