George Washington has nowhere to go but up after last night's opener. Richmond gave the smaller Colonials a clinic in rebounding and the fast break, handing the hosts an embarrassing 92-69 defeat before 1,200 at the Smith Center.
The Spiders, playing their third game in five nights, showed no ill effects. They enjoyed an overwhelming 40-26 advantage in the rebounding department, shot a decent 56 percent from the floor and forced 30 Colonial turnovers. Spider all-American candidate 6-foot-5 Mike Perry scored 29 points, six baskets coming on a variety of dunks. Perry's running mate, John Schweitz, who hit only one of nine from the floor in the first half, converted seven of his first eight shots in the second half and finished with 24 points.
Richmond led, 44-38, at intermission. Schweitz, making 16-footers over a weak GW defense, sparked a 19-10 spurt and put his team ahead, 63-48, with 11 minutes left in the game.
"These kids thought all they had to do was show up to win," said GW Coach Bob Tallent. "But we don't have any superstars to work the ball into. This is the worst defeat I've ever been associated with as a player or a coach. I hope this wakes them up. It sure would me if I was a player."
GW had neither the inside game nor the speed to keep up with the flying Spiders.Each time GW managed a basket, the visitors seemed to score twice. Another quick blitz, led by Perry, put Richmond (2-1) into a comfortable 88-60 lead with four minutes to play.
Just three years ago, GW beat Richmond by 22 points. Last year, GW won by eight points. But even Spider Coach Lou Goetz couldn't have imagined his team handling the Colonials as easily as they did last night.
"Defense was the key for us. We played man-to-man about 20 minutes and in that time they got only two baskets," said Goetz. "They got a lot of baskets on second shots and transition baskets. If we play defense like we did tonight, we'll win a lot of games."
GW, using a three-forward lineup, was in the game only 45 seconds. After a three-point play by Oscar Wilmington put GW in front, 3-2, the Spiders turned the game into their own private scrimmage.
Using its inside strength, Richmond controlled the boards and ran off a 13-1 streak to go ahead, 15-4. All five Spider players scored in the spurt.
GW didn't fold right away. Randy Davis scored twice from 15 feet, Wilmington drove the lane for a layup and Curtis Jeffries and Steve Perry sank three free throws to bring the Colonials within four points, 17-13.
But Richmond took off again. Perry broke loose for two flying dunks, 6-foot-10 Jeff Pehl (13 points) scored two baskets after grabbing offensive rebounds and the Spiders were ahead, 28-20, with 6:30 left in the first half.