Terence Stansbury's free throw with four seconds to play gave Temple a 68-67 victory over George Washington last night in the first Atlantic 10 Conference basketball game. It was played under the three-point field goal and 40-second clock rules.
The Colonials used the three-pointer to advantage in the final minutes, making five in rallying from a 12-point deficit to tie at 67 with 13 seconds left on Dave Hobel's third shot from more than 19 feet 9 inches.
GW, which never led, had one last chance to beat the Philadelphians when Stansbury missed his second free throw. Mike Brown rebounded the ball and passed out to Mike O'Reilly. A second pass to Hobel arrived too late, as the horn sounded.
"The last play actually worked out perfectly," explained Coach Gerry Gimelstob, whose team had used all its alloted time outs. "We wanted Mike to get the ball and we had our best two shooters downcourt. But Brown had trouble getting rid of the ball and we ran out of time."
GW, which had trailed by 14 in the first half, managed its comeback because the Owls, in a matchup zone, were intent on stopping 6-foot 9 sophomore center Brown, giving up the perimeter shots by GW's guards.
"We came here with the intention of stopping two players," explained John Chaney, who was hired to coach Temple in August after 10 successful campaigns at Cheyney State. "We wanted to stop Brown and (Troy) Webster and I wasn't going to change the defense late in the game just to stop their outside shooting."
The game had started slowly, with both teams feeling out the range on three-point shots and trying to go inside. After a 4-4 tie, Stansbury, who finished with 20 points, put Temple ahead to stay. Turnovers and missed foul shots kept GW from gaining the lead.
Temple held a 35-21 lead with 3:11 to play before halftime, then the Colonials scored the next eight points to trail, 35-29, at the break.
"Great shots aren't going to win games for you, but mistakes will lose them and we made too many in the first half," said Gimelstob, whose team is 1-1 and plays St. Peter's Thursday in the Meadowlands.
"As (North Carolina Coach) Dean Smith would say, "I'm disappointed, but not totally discouraged."
Temple gradually rebuilt its lead in the second half, with junior Granger Hall, who last winter was named Philadelphia Big Five's most improved player, scoring 10 straight points to give the Owls a 56-44 advantage. Granger shared game scoring honors with Troy Webster, finishing with 21.
With Brown tied up inside, GW was forced to go for long shots.
"They were sagging, sagging, sagging," said Brown. "They prevented me from (moving) across the middle."
Teammate Steve Frick made a three-pointer to narrow the deficit to 56-47. Then Hobel made one and suddenly GW was back in the game, 56-50. Two free throws by Temple and several GW misses seemed to end the threat, but Mike O'Reilly's three-pointer brought GW to 64-61 with 2:12 to play.
Temple again went up, 67-61, before Hobel's three-pointer made it 67-64. And Hobel then got the chance to tie it with 13 seconds to go after a Temple turnover.
"It's only 20 feet. It's great for basketball," said the junior guard.
After Hobel's shot, Temple quickly brought the ball downcourt. Stansbury went to the right corner for a jumper, was fouled by Darryl Webster and went to the foul line for the winning point.
"The three-point shot is great for the spectators, but the jury is still out on how it will affect the game," said Temple's Chaney.