George Washington University's center, Mike Brown, ignored the advice of the team's doctor, Stephen Haas, and its coach, Gerry Gimelstob, last night. He played.
After missing two games with a sprained left toe, Brown -- helped by what he called "Grandma's home remedy" -- had 15 points and 16 rebounds to lead the Colonials to a 69-59 victory over Massachusetts in an Atlantic 10 game before 2,536 at Smith Center.
GW, which has beaten Massachusetts 12 straight times, has won 11 straight conference games at home and is 9-6 and 4-3 this season. The losers are 7-9 and 3-4.
Brown said the toe still hurts, but hasn't felt better since he was hurt in practice the day after Christmas. "I've been doing some of Grandma's home remedy," he said, "soaking it in turpentine and Epsom salts twice a day."
Teammate Chester Wood shrugged off a twisted knee to score 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting. "Chester is really an important part of our team," Gimelstob said. "He can score off the base line and is a good passer."
Two baskets by Wood and one by Brown helped GW to a 6-1 lead. Two three-point field goals by Donald Russell, who led the Minutemen with 19 points, enabled UMass to take a 21-20 lead with 7:11 left in the first half.
Steve Frick's layup moments later regained the lead for GW, and the Colonials never trailed thereafter.
Massachusetts trailed by 32-28 at the half. A short jumper by Carl Smith (13 points) brought them within 41-40 but baskets by Frick and Wood extended the lead to five. On the next play, Russell apparently was fouled by Joe Wassell on a three-point attempt. Massachusetts Coach Ron Gerlufsen argued so vehemently he drew a technical foul. Wassell made one of two foul shots for a 46-40 lead.
"It was a very physical game," said Gerlufsen. "There was quite a bit of contact. I can handle officials missing calls inside but when a player out on the open floor gets flattened the call has to be made. I have to stand up for my players."
Still, Massachusetts had a chance to pull within five but Bobby Braun overthrew Ron Young on a backdoor play, giving GW possession with a 52-45 lead.
Braun, the recipient of a deflected pass, dunked and Wood made a 10-foot jump shot to give GW an 11-point lead. Massachuetts could get no closer than seven after that.
As important as the offensive contributions of Brown and Wood was the defense of Frick and Craig Helms on Horace Neysmith, who had 71 points in his last three games. He scored one in the first half and ended with 12.
For GW, which had lost three of four before last night's game, the return of Brown, who passed Gene Guarilia to become the Colonials' second-leading all-time rebounder, was a most welcome sight.
"It was his decision to play," said Gimelstob. "I thought he should sit out the game. But when you can dominate a college game playing significantly below capacity, that's a real good criteria to be an all-America player."