George Washington, on the verge of blowing out Florida State in the first half, suffered a complete reversal of momentum in the final minutes before intermission and went on to drop a 71-68 decision at Smith Center last night.

However, after trailing by seven points late in the game, the Colonials had possession of the basketball and 15 seconds to send the nonconference game into overtime.

The Colonials made too many mental mistakes, but they almost pulled it out at the end because the Seminoles missed six free throws down the stretch, including the front end of four bonus opportunities. What happened at the finish was typical of gw/'s frustration in the game.

After Tom Glenn blcoked a James Bozeman layup attempt that would have clinched the Seminole victory, the Colonials called time. Coach Bob Tallent ordered his men to run a play for guard Brian Magid. They executed perfectly to get Magid open for an 18-foot jumper. As Tallent said later, "You couldn't want it any better."

Magid launched the shot from the baseline, but it bounded off the far side of the rim. Five seconds remained. The Colonials gave an intentional foul with three seconds left and reserve Ed Chatman, a Florida State hero last night, made the second of two free throws for the final margin.

In a sullen GW locker room, a player told a reporter, "The play didn't work."

A few lockers away, Magid interrupted: "The play worked," he said. "The shot didn't work. It was an open 18-foot jumper. It didn't fall.

"I felt okay. I guess I just didn't concentrate enough. People say, "Why did you miss the shot?' You can't make them all."

George Washington, now 8-8 heading into a game at Stetson Saturday night, played almost perfect basketball the opening 16 minutes before Florida State's persistent man-to-man defense tightened considerably.

At this point, GW led, 39-27, after holding a lead as large as 14 points. The Colonials were making exactly two-thirds of their shots and running their offense to textbook perfection.

Then, they collapsed. They didn't score the rest of the half. In a 26-possession stretch that took Florida State to a 60-54 lead with 8:16 to play, the Colonials committed 14 turnovers and Florida State continually got easy, sometimes uncontested layups.

What GW did at the outset of the collapse was fail to run its offense. opting instead for one-on-one basketball, a style that is poison to it.

"We got tentative," Tallent said. "We weren't aggressive enough."

"Sometimes you get the momentum for a long time," forward Mike Samson said, "and can lose it and quickly. We got conservative and quit playing."

This opened the floodgates for the Seminoles, now 11-6. Their big men especially Murray Brown (27 points on 11-for-15 inside shooting), got open for layups and Chatman got five of his steals in the second half while scoring 17 points.

GW threw the ball away on the opening two possessions of the second half when men were open. That was typical of GW's second-hlaf play. The most frustrating moment came when Samson punched the ball away from a Florida State player and Tom Tate missed a breakaway layup.

"I left the ground too soon," Tate said afterward. "I tried to accommodate for it. I wish I could do it again."