It was an unlikely way for a 13-point underdog to lose a basketball game. But this wasn't just any underdog. This was the George Washington Colonials.
This was the team that confounded the Eastern Eight Conference by upsetting West Virginia last Saturday. Tonight, the Colonials traveled to Pittsburgh's Civic Arena and did everything to tournament favorite Duquesne but beat the Dukes, losing a tough 84-74 overtime decision in front of a disappointing crowd of 2,811.
"I think we could have won it in regulation," said GW Coach Bob Tallent after the game.
The Colonials certainly had their chances.
After falling behind, 6-0, in the first 1 minute 18 seconds, the Colonials dominated play. They held a 39-30 halftime edge by forcing Duquesne into 14 first-half turnovers. They led throughout much of the second half, taking a seven-point lead with 6:30 to play in regulation. The Colonial defense confused the Dukes for much of the game and senior guard Curtis Jeffries provided consistent scoring from all over the court, finishing with 22 points.
Duquesne called on long shot expert Joey Myers, a 6-foot-8 sophomore forward, who scored all 12 of his points in the second half to pull them through. He keyed Duquesne's comeback, making both ends of a one-and-one with 5:35 remaining to pull the Dukes within a point at 59-58.
The game was up for grabs from that point.
The Colonials had a chance to take a four-point lead with 1:10 remaining, but they blew a three-on-one fast break when Curtis Smith missed a layup. In the ensuing scrap for the rebound, Duquesne's Rod Scott was fouled. He converted both free throws to tie the score at 70.
The overtime featured more back-and-forth play with Duquesne finally taking control in the last half-minute. After freshman guard Andy Sisinni hit two free throws to put the Dukes ahead, 80-76, Davis scored from 25 feet and was fouled with 28 seconds remaining. He missed the foul shot, Duquesne got the rebound and the Colonials were forced to foul Scott with 18 seconds left. Scott converted to seal the Colonials' fate.
The loss wasted a superb offensive performance by Jefferies, who finished with 22 points on nine-of-12 shooting.
GW finishes the season at 8-19, 4-9 in regular season league play.