Butler-George Washington Preview
By ALAN FERGUSON
(AP) -- Butler holds a share of first place halfway through its inaugural Atlantic 10 season, but has encountered some problems lately on the road in conference play.
The 14th-ranked Bulldogs will try to avoid a third consecutive road defeat Saturday when they face George Washington for the first time.
Butler (19-4, 6-2) moved into a tie for first with Virginia Commonwealth and Saint Louis on Wednesday with a balanced offensive performance in a 77-58 victory over St. Bonaventure. The Bulldogs had four players score in double figures, led by Rotnei Clarke's 17 points.
Roosevelt Jones was not one of those players, leaving with an apparent shoulder injury. Coach Brad Stevens said it's "possible" the sophomore forward could play Saturday.
Butler had light practices before this game in order to attend Thursday's memorial services for junior forward Erik Fromm's father, Leonard, who died last Saturday.
The Bulldogs will try to follow with an inspired effort and keep their road losing streak brief. La Salle hit a shot in the final seconds for a 54-53 win Jan. 23, but Butler was not nearly as competitive in its last game away from home, a 75-58 defeat to Saint Louis on Jan. 31.
The Bulldogs would appear to have a prime opportunity to bounce back given George Washington's lackluster 5-5 home record, but the Colonials enter this matchup having won four of five overall.
"It's obviously going to be difficult Saturday with George Washington playing the way they are," Stevens said.
The Colonials (11-10, 5-3) routed Duquesne 79-57 on Wednesday. Senior guard Lasan Kromah led the way with a season-high 19 points along with six rebounds and four steals.
The team's top scorer and rebounder, junior forward Isaiah Armwood, recorded his sixth double-double of the season with 14 points and 13 boards.
Armwood, a transfer from Villanova, averages 12.2 points and ranks second in the A-10 with 8.5 rebounds. He's also second in the league with 2.8 blocks per contest.
"Every game is a big game to us but Butler is nationally ranked and beat (No. 1) Indiana earlier in the season, that makes it more exciting," Armwood said.
George Washington will host its first AP Top 25 opponent since losing 57-41 to then-No. 24 Temple on Feb. 26, 2011. It's only the third time a ranked team has visited since 2003.
"We're going to try to enjoy it. It's going to be a great atmosphere," coach Mike Lonergan said. "It's really important that we play loose."
The Colonials have dropped 12 straight to ranked teams since a 78-70 win over No. 21 Maryland on Dec. 5, 2005, and they haven't beaten a Top 25 foe at home since an 85-75 victory over No. 19 St. John's on Dec. 2, 2000.
Butler is visiting the nation's capital for the first time since earning two NCAA tournament wins there in 2011 en route to its second title game appearance in as many seasons.
Updated February 8, 2013