Sunday, December 8, 2013

Wow! GW beats Maryland on last second shot, 77-75


What a game! Maurice Creek his a long jumper with 0.6 seconds to go to give the Colonials the win over Maryland, 77-75. This was the first time GW has beaten the Terps since 2005, and the first game against the Green liners since 2008.

For the first 30 minutes of the game, everything was going GW's way. The team was shooting well and playing great defense to keep the Terps at arms' length, going up by 17 one point. Then it seemed like the team got tired and grew sloppy, with the Terps ratcheting up the defensive pressure to go on a 19-2 run, tying it up with a minute to go. Some questionable refereeing didn't help either.

The main problems were with inbounding, the good guys just couldn't get the ball in successfully due to Maryland pressure, which resulted in a lot of turnovers and easy baskets for the Terps. It's tough to say why that was, but Nemanja Mikic was often the inbounder in those cases, though it may have been other people didn't go where they were supposed to.

It got to be a nervewracking and frustrating game towards the end, but then after trading some free throws, GW got the ball and brought it over half court, calling timeout. With about 5 seconds to go, Zeek Armwood inbounded it and Maurice Creek dribbled, over to the other side, then hit the shot to basically end the game. It was intense.

It was a great experience start to finish, as GW organized a reception beforehand with free food and beer (can't beat that) and then when the game started, it was obvious that Colonials fans outnumbered Terps fans by a large margin, both with the students and the non-students. In fact, Maryland only seemed to have about a dozen students in their student section, while GW had maybe 200. Great to see that. The GW crowd got loud while the Terps fans were silent, not having much to cheer about until the end.

There were a lot of big games too -- Maurice Creek continues to be really good, scoring 25 on a variety of moves and shots. Joe McDonald is a fantastic rebounder, at one time leaping past a Maryland big man to swipe a board. He almost had a triple double with 12 points, 9 rebounds (5 offensive!) and 8 assists -- 9 rebounds for the point guard -- plus 4 steals! Armwood played like Armwood, scoring 11 with 12 boards and a few big blocks, and Kethan Savage looked good too, adding 14 on some nifty moves and taking 4 steals. The good guys also shot 78.8% from the free throw line, which was huge in this game -- it seemed like the refs were getting paid by the foul.

Coach Lonergan has really shortened his bench, with only John Kopriva and Nemanja Mikic getting any real time, 19 and 15 minutes respectively and everybody else getting 2. I wonder if that's why it seemed the guys were playing poorly later on, with everyone but Larsen playing 32 or more minutes. Kopriva seems to be becoming a steady, scrappy hustler off the bench, which is nice to see. Kevin Larsen, however, had a rough game, scoring 5 on 2/7 shooting and making some mistakes, though he did grab 7 rebounds before fouling out (some of which were completely bogus fouls.) He looked pretty frustrated when he sat down.

The team still allowed too many wide open Maryland drives to the basket and easy buckets, but they still seem to respond to adversity by playing tougher and not giving up. It's corny to say, but really is accurate. They're tough, mentally.

This is a fun team to watch, and awesome to see groups of thrilled GW fans running around the Verizon Center (though the alcohol probably helped.) The good guys are now 8-1 and will probably get more votes in the top 25 poll, if not even a spot there. We'll see. The next game is on Wednesday at home against Boston University.

Here's ESPN's box score and recap on the game.

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