Having lost it's last 25 games, Massachusetts had no reason to feel any pressure in last night's Eastern Eight game against George Washington. The Minutemen actually looked good for most of the contest before GW pulled away to win, 75-64, at the Smith Center.
"Struggle, struggle, struggle," said GW Coach Bob Tallent, minutes after his club had improved their conference mark to 2-3 and overall record to 8-4. "We're not going to kill anyone. Mass. has some good players. They're not as bad as people think."
Good shooting by the Minutemen, particularly guard Tyrus Nedd and forward Curtin Phauls, kept the winless team from dropping out of sight early.
Colonial forward Oscar Wilmington, getting his first start of the season, dropped in four straight free throws near the end of the half to give the Colonials a 38-34 lead.
But the pesky Minutemen would not go away. Back-to-back baskets by Nedd and Dan Wright knotted the score at 38 before GW got serious.
"We switched from 2-3 to 1-3-1 and got a few steals," said Tallent. "Wilmington played well and we shot pretty good in the second half."
Shoot well, they did, especially the Colonials' ace bomber, Brian Magid. The senior guard added a foul shot to his string of 45 in his chase to break the NCAA record 60 for consecutive free throws. He also hit enough 18-and-22-footers to keep the crowd happy.
Magid made 11 of 15 from the floor for a game-high 23 points. Tom Glenn contributed 18 with 12 of them coming in the second half.
Glenn's 15-footer lifted GW into what seemed to be a comfortable 57-48 lead with 12 minutes left.However, a driving basket by Phauls (16 points) and a three-point play by George Dennerlein cut the deficit to 57-53, during the next 70 seconds.
At that point it wasn't clear whether GW was playing reckless or Mass was playing over its head. In any case, the Minutemen converted two Colonial turnovers into as many baskets and suddenly, they had crept even closer, 63-60, with 6:45 remaining.
Magid then personally saw to it that the Minutemen would leave Smith Center the same way they came winless. The jump-shooting guard threw one in from 20 feet, stole a ball that eventually resulted in a Mike Zargardo tip-in, scored on a breakaway after a nice pass from Randy Davis and assisted on a short hook by Zargardo.
Zagardo's bucket sent the Colonials steaking to a 71-60 advantage with 1:45 to play.
The Colonials shot 51 percent from the floor and were perfect on seven tries from the free-throw line. Glenn, who also had 10 rebounds and three blocked shots, helped the Colonials earn a 33-32 rebound edge. Glenn also went over the 1,000 point mark for his career. He is 20th on the all-time GW scoring list.
Massachuetts, which spent much of the pregame, warmup, bouncing to the lively music of the Colonial pep band, hit only 41 percent from the field and committed 20 turnovers.
Massachusetts fell to 0-5 in the EAA, 0-13 for the year.
While GW was playing keepaway in the final 90 seconds, Mass didn't even bother to foul to stop the clock. After so many consecutive defeats, why bother?