GW men's basketball nips East Carolina, 82-80, to extend winning streak to three

Pittsburgh's Brad Wanamaker (22) blocks a shot by American University's Steve Luptak. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Pittsburgh's Brad Wanamaker (22) blocks a shot by American University's Steve Luptak. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
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Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 22, 2010; 11:13 PM

Not too long ago, George Washington was having trouble getting any shots to fall, let alone an 18-foot, off-balance jumper that banked off the backboard before falling through the net.

That dramatic shot by Bryan Bynes with two seconds remaining lifted the Colonials to an 82-80 victory over East Carolina on Wednesday night at Smith Center, extending their win streak to three games.

Bynes, who is making less than 33 percent of his field goal attempts this season, wasn't supposed to take the shot. GW (5-5) wanted Tony Taylor to take it. When East Carolina (7-5) prevented Taylor, though, Bynes came through.

Taylor did his part; he scored a career-high 26 points. Joseph Katuka finished with a career-high 17. And Dwayne Smith added 20 points, one point shy of his career high. "About four weeks ago, I'm not sure we would have won this game," GW Coach Karl Hobbs said.

A month ago, the Colonials were struggling to put points on the scoreboard and they had made more than 40 percent of their shots only twice in eight games. Now, they've scored more than 80 points and shot better than 50 percent from the floor in back-to-back games.

GW made 55.6 percent against East Carolina, its best percentage of the season.

The Colonials took the lead from the start and held onto it most of the game. They built their largest lead, 51-41, about five minutes into the second half. But East Carolina stormed back, scoring seven consecutive points to pull within three.

The Pirates took their first lead, 55-54, with 11 minutes 12 seconds to play. Over the next 10 minutes, there were five lead changes and five ties.

GW trailed, 77-74, with 1 ½ minutes remaining when Taylor scored five consecutive points to put the Colonials back in front. Katuka made a free throw to extend the lead to three.

Then with nine seconds remaining, Smith picked up his first foul of the game trying to prevent Darrius Morrow from putting back Brock Young's missed three-pointer. Morrow made the shot and the free throw to tie the score at 80.

For the final play, GW put the ball in Taylor's hands. When he didn't find an open look, Bynes made the shot of the game.

"I just felt if we got a chance to take the last shot," Hobbs said. "I felt very good that we would win the game."

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