George Washington falls to St. Joseph's, 71-59, in Atlantic 10 tournament

George Washington's Tony Taylor goes to the basket against Saint Joseph's Langston Galloway in their Atlantic 10 first-round game.
George Washington's Tony Taylor goes to the basket against Saint Joseph's Langston Galloway in their Atlantic 10 first-round game. (Mark Gail/the Washington Post)
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Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 9, 2011; 12:15 AM

Tony Taylor had made so many big plays to win games in the last couple weeks for George Washington, it was only natural to think he would do it again.

But after almost single-handedly bringing the Colonials back, Taylor could not get the one shot GW needed to fall. The junior guard missed a jumper that could have won the game at the end of regulation and then neither he nor his teammates had any energy left in overtime. The fifth-seeded Colonials, who never led in the game, lost in the first round of the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament, falling, 71-59, to No. 12 seed Saint Joseph's on Tuesday night at a half-filled Smith Center.

The Hawks (10-21) move on to Atlantic City where they will play fourth-seeded Duquesne (18-11) on Friday.

"I think the whole team is very disappointed in not coming up with the win," Taylor said. "We really worked hard this whole season to put ourselves in this position and to also advance. We're just really sad we couldn't get our seniors to Atlantic City."

GW's seniors, Joseph Katuka and Jabari Edwards, went their entire careers without going to Atlantic City for the tournament. The Colonials (17-14) missed the tournament in 2008 and '09 and were eliminated in the first round last year. The last time they won a tournament game was in 2007 when they won the entire tournament.

Taylor scored 19 of his 22 points in the second half, but it was the jump shot with seconds left in regulation that he wanted most to fall. The second-team all-conference selection had made a pair of free throws with just under a minute remaining to tie the score at 49.

"We put the ball in Tony's hands and he did a terrific job making some great plays to put us in position to win the game," said GW Coach Karl Hobbs.

GW's defense, which had held Saint Joseph's to one field goal in the final 5½ minutes of regulation, forced the Hawks into a poor shot at the end of the shot clock. Taylor then had a good look at the basket, but the ball hit the rim. Edwards's tip-in had a bit too much on it, and Saint Joseph's Todd O'Brien grabbed the rebound as the buzzer sounded.

In the overtime, the outcome seemed to be decided when Saint Joseph's won the jump ball. The Hawks scored on their first four possessions in the extra period, while GW missed its first six shot attempts and a pair of free throws before Taylor sank a three-pointer with 1 minute 27 seconds left. By then, Saint Joseph's had scored 10 points in a row.

The Hawks made 14 consecutive free throws and 18 of 20 in the overtime period to end GW's bid to reach Atlantic City.

"I thought we had to exert obviously a great deal of energy to put ourselves in a position to win the game at the end," Hobbs said.

Two Saint Joseph's starters, leading scorer Carl Jones (12 points) and leading rebounder Ronald Roberts (10 points), were late to a team function and did not start the game. But that didn't stop the Hawks from executing the perfect game plan against GW.

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