Troy Webster scored a career-high 27 points and Dave Hobel got nine of his 11 points in the last three minutes as George Washington pulled away to defeat Holy Cross, 76-68, last night before 3,100 at Smith Center.
After making only eight of 28 shots in the first half, which ended in a tie at 25, the Colonials (8-6) relaxed and began taking advantage of the slower Crusaders (8-5). They made 16 of 20 shots, an astounding 80 percent, and 19 of 27 free throws.
Chester Wood's layup with just over six minutes to play put the Colonials ahead to stay, 55-53. Webster, who had 17 points the last half, scored five of his team's next seven as GW moved ahead, 61-57, with 4:53 left in the game.
"Troy sort of took over the game at that point," said Coach Gerry Gimmelstob. "Our defensive play kept us in the game in the first half and I was happy with a tie at the half. I think the kids got caught up in an emotional thing--we beat Temple last week and have got a big game against Penn State here Saturday. It was tough playing Holy Cross in the middle. But we started going when Mike Brown (16 points, 11 rebounds) started working the boards and Chester made a couple of key baskets."
Still, playing without leading scorer Champ Godbolt (18.3 average) and reserve forward James Carlton, who had been declared temporarily academically ineligible, Holy Cross wouldn't go away. Chris Logan scored 21 of his 26 points in the second half to keep his team in the game. His short turnaround jumper pulled the Crusaders to 65-64 with two minutes remainig.
GW went into a spread offense and Hobel, put in the game to help handle the Crusaders' full-court pressure, made four straight free throws. The second two gave GW a 69-64 lead with 1:19 left.
Webster added a layup, Brown scored on a drive and Hobel sank two more free throws and GW led, 75-66, with 30 seconds left.
"In the first half we were just a little over confident," said Webster. "Second half we came out and got the jump on them. Even without their leading scorer, they were a good team."
Neither team looked very good in the first 25 minutes. GW missed its first seven shots and didn't score until 16:18 showed on the clock. Fortunately, Holy Cross committed four turnovers and missed its first five shots before tying the score, 2-2, on a follow-up layup by Pat Elzie with 16 minutes to play.
For the next four minutes, each team repeatedly threw up shots trying to find the range. Holy Cross got eight points from guard Jim Runcie to gain a 18-10 advantage with 7:35 left before intermission.
But Holy Crosss had trouble handling the ball and getting inside against GW's aggressive man-to-man defense. It seemed to be a matter of time before the Colonials took control. The momentum began to swing after Webster got inside for a layup to make it 18-12 with 7:12 on the clock.