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News Feed - January 14, 2009

If George Washington intends to end its five-game losing streak on Wednesday night at Duquesne, it can’t have any more slow starts like it had on Saturday in its Atlantic 10 Conference opener against Richmond. The Colonials (6-7, 0-1) fell behind 25-5 to start the game, rallied to cut the Spiders’ lead to eight in the second half then lost, 60-48. Although they outscored Richmond, 34-26, in the second half, their slow start was too much to overcome. GW needs to carry over its strong second-half effort into its game against the Dukes. Tipoff is 7 p.m. at Palumbo Center.

Duquesne went 17-13 last season to finish with its first winning record since 1994, but then saw its top five scorers from that team depart. Given their turnover and their inexperience – they have eight scholarship freshmen and 12 underclassmen on their roster – no one knew what to expect from the Dukes this season. Few anticipated that Duquesne (11-4, 2-0) would be one of the hottest teams in the Atlantic 10 right now. The Dukes are tied with Xavier atop the A10 standings. Their 2-0 start is their best in nine years and they have never started an A10 season 3-0.

Senior guard Aaron Jackson, a two-time A10 player of the week, makes Duquesne go. He is a big reason why the Dukes have the second-highest scoring offense in the league (79.1 points per game). Jackson leads the team in scoring (18.1 points per game) and leads the conference in assists (6.2 per game).

Senior forward Wynton Witherspoon, who played a total of 16 minutes in the five games prior to the Richmond contest, had his best game of the season against the Spiders. Witherspoon came off the bench to lead GW with 15 points on 6-of-13 shooting. He also had four assists, four rebounds and two steals in 36 minutes, the most minutes he’s played in a game this season. The Colonials will need another strong performance out of Witherspoon against Duquesne.

This is the only meeting between the teams this season. Duquesne won last year’s game, 92-67.

By Kathy Orton  |  January 14, 2009; 6:23 AM ET
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