George Washington found the Pittsburgh field house an unfriendly place tonight, losing, 79-70, to the Panthers in the Colonials' regular-season finale.
"We played very poorly defensively," said GW Coach Gerry Gimelstob. "When we beat them the last time, we played much better defense. This time, we didn't concentrate.
"Playing poor defensively hurt us on offense. We just weren't getting anything off the boards. Also, they got us into an up-tempo game, which we didn't want to get involved in."
Guard Wilbert Skipper led the Colonials (13-13, 7-7 in the league) with 21 points, followed by center Mike Brown with 15 and forward Steve Perry with 13. Forward Clyde Vaughan had 22 points and guard Darrell Gissendanner 18 for Pitt (17-9, 8-6).
GW will play St. Bonaventure at Smith Center Tuesday in the first round of the Eastern Eight tournament, the winner of which gains a spot in the NCAA tournament. The Colonials, who finished in a fourth-place tie in the conference with St. Bonaventure, received the home-court advantage on the basis of strength of schedule. They have never before hosted or won a first-round Eastern Eight game.
Gimelstob said he was was looking forward to the St. Bonaventure matchup. The Colonials and Bonnies split their season series, 1-1, with each team winning at home.
Skipper was hot at the beginning for George Washington, making his first four shots as GW took an 8-5 lead. Perry then contributed five points and a blocked shot as the Colonials took a 15-14 lead midway through the first half.
Pitt got some good outside shooting from Dwayne Wallace and Gissendanner to lead, 22-21. Brown then scored six points to put the Colonials ahead, 25-24.
After Vaughan put Pitt on top again with a basket off a rebound, Gissendanner scored on a spectacular end-to-end basket and successive three-point plays by Wallace and Andre Williams gave Pitt a 34-29 lead with four minutes left in the half.
Pitt shot well the remainder of the half and took a 42-33 halftime lead on a 22-footer at the buzzer by George Allen.
After a basket by Williams opened the second half for Pitt, GW ran off nine straight points, including seven by substitute Penny Elliott, to pull within 44-42.
Pitt moved back into control as two baskets each by little-used Trent Johnson and Vaughan gave the Panthers a 56-48 lead midway through the second half.