If last night's performance is an indication of things to come, Mike Brown, George Washington's 6-foot-10 all-America candidate, may not have much trouble living up to his new nickname.
Billed as "The New Washington Monument," Brown played over shorter Randolph-Macon most of the evening, scoring 22 points and grabbing 15 rebounds as the Colonials opened their basketball season with a 65-56 victory before 2,121 at Smith Center.
One of the top Division II teams in the nation, the Yellow Jackets (1-1) provided the Colonials with exactly the game GW Coach Gerry Gimelstob hoped for.
"It was a good and bad effort for us," Gimelstob said. "Randolph-Macon is one of the best-coached teams in the nation and I knew they would make us work for everything we got. That's exactly why we wanted to play them early."
The visitors, who finished 26-5 and came within a few points of defeating both the Colonials and Maryland last season, were the workmanlike, disciplined team they've always been. They used a sagging, aggressive zone and a man-to-man defense trying to shut down Brown inside. Neither defense worked.
"Mike Brown hurt us more than Ralph Sampson (when he was at Virginia) ever did," said Randolph-Macon Coach Hal Nunnally. "Brown hurt us last year and Brown hurt us this year."
The Yellow Jackets tried numerous trapping defenses to stop Brown's power moves but, for the most part, the senior was able to get the shots he wanted. When he couldn't score, Darryl Webster (12 points) found shooting room outside.
Brown had 10 points the first half and Webster six as GW went into intermission with a 30-24 lead.
The Yellow Jackets, rebounding hard and making the most of every scoring opportunity, led several times in the first half. Their last lead was 24-22 before the Colonials held them scoreless the final four minutes of the period.
Troy Webster opened the second half with a basket and Brown added a dunk and a turnaround jumper as the Colonials' lead swelled to nine points. Another flurry, started by Brown, made it a 59-45 advantage with 3 1/2 minutes remaining.
"There were a number of things I thought we did well -- like play hard on defense -- and a number of things we did poor -- like give up a 14-point lead," Gimelstob said. "I wasn't pleased with that."
Baskets by Mike Boyer (13 points) and Rod Wood (11), sandwiched around some lackadaisical play by the Colonials, whittled the lead from 14 points to 63-56 with 51 seconds left in the game.
But the Colonials, who had only nine free throws, made two in the final seconds to assure victory.