The University of North Carolina-Charlotte scored the first 12 points of the second half and beat George Washington, 66-61, tonight in the final of the First Union invitational tournament.
Junior Chad Kinch, who helped UNCC get to the final four of the NCAA tournament two years ago, scored 28 points as the winners were assured victory on two free throws by Washington Phill Ward with 63 seconds left.
Kinch is what basketball insiders call a "big-time guard," and GW c/oach Bob Tallent said, "We've not played against any better guard since I've of Maryland, but they're different players."
Much of the game became an out-side-inside contest between Kinch and GW's center, Mike Zagardo, who scored 26 points. Kinch's bombs lifted UNCC into the lead for good.
From a 29-29 halftime tie, Kinch hit from the right baseline and then deeper from the left baseline. To round out his versatility, he also scored from just beyond the free-throw line during the spurt.
GW, meanwhile, threw the ball away three times and had one shot blocked during the drought. The block was by Ward, who played at Washington's Coolidge High, on Brian Magid, who missed all four shots he tried in the game.
Mike Samson of GW was ejected with 14 minutes to play after his forearm caught Kinch in the face during a struggle for the ball.
"I tried to knock the ball loose," Samson said, "and he stuck his head down to protect it and I hit him. It wasn't intentional. I definitely fouled him, but it wasn't intentional. I was playing too well for that."
With a line-up of three guards and freshment Paul Gracza and Jimmy Stepp in the lineup, GW gradually cut a lead that reached 18 points just after Samson's ejection.
But Ward hit his free throws and Kinch blocked Stepp's shot from the deep baselne with 50 seconds left and GW got no closer again than three points. GW is 3-4 for the season.