By Kathy Orton
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 Â½ 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."
Note: Senior forward Jabari Edwards had surgery on his knee but was sitting in the stands as a precaution. Edwards hasn't played since Nov. 22.
l SEATTLE 59, VIRGINIA 53: Sterling Carter scored 19 points and Aaron Broussard added 15 as the Redhawks won in Charlottesville and snapped the Cavaliers' five-game winning streak.
Virginia (8-4) welcomed leading scorer Mike Scott back into the lineup, but it didn't make much difference. The senior co-captain was rusty after he missed the previous two games with an ankle injury. In 31 minutes as a reserve, Scott had 12 points and eight rebounds.
Seattle (5-10) led by 10 in the first half and 15 in the second.
l PITTSBURGH 61, AMERICAN 46: Brad Wanamaker scored 19 points and led a first-half surge in which the sixth-ranked Panthers held the Eagles to a lone basket for 10 minutes. Overall, it was the 200th victory for Coach Jamie Dixon.
Gilbert Brown, coming off a 28-point game against Maryland-Eastern Shore, added 15 points as the Panthers (12-1) wrapped up their non-conference schedule with a game that was much closer than expected.
Pitt averages 82.2 points and had been held to fewer than 70 points only once, against Texas.
Vlad Moldoveanu scored 23 points for American (7-5).
l HOWARD 69, LOYOLA 65: Mike Phillips scored 19 points and hit two free throws with 9 seconds left to help the host Bison (2-8) snap an eight-game losing streak. The Greyhounds (4-7) led 62-56 with 3:12 left, but six straight points by Howard tied the score with 1:39 to go.
l ELON 73, NAVY 58: Drew Spradlin scored 14 points as the Phoenix won on the road. Spradlin hit four three-pointers and Chris Long, who scored 13 points, had three for Elon (5-7), which entered third in the country with an average of 10.1 three-pointers a game.
The Midshipmen (4-9) grabbed a 53-51 lead on the three-point play by Jordan Sugars with 5:25 remaining.Mason reaches .500
Double-doubles from Amber Easter and Evelyn Lewis (17 points, 14 rebounds) led host George Mason to a 73-45 victory over Longwood.
The Patriots (5-5) have won three in a row. Three Patriots posted double-figure scoring performances led by Lewis with 17 points. Lewis added 14 rebounds for her first double-double. Easter tallied her first of the season with 15 points and 13 rebounds.
l AMERICAN 83, TROY 49:
The host Eagles shot better than 60 percent from the floor until the final seconds.
"They simply couldn't miss and we couldn't kick it in the ocean if we were standing on the pier," Trojans Coach Michael Murphy said in a release.
Lisa Strack led American (7-4) with 24 points. Troy fell to 2-10.
l NJIT 60, HOWARD 57: Jessica Gerald made 12 of 14 free throws and scored 20 points to lead the Highlanders at home. Saadia Doyle recorded her fifth double-double of the season with 26 points and 13 rebounds for the Lady Bison (3-9).
- From news services and staff reports