After scoring a total of 82 points in its last two games, George Washington needed a team upon which to vent its frustrations. Rhode Island played the part yesterday.
Scoring easily early, the Colonials placed four players in double figures to claim an 84-75 victory in an Atlantic 10 Conference game at Smith Center.
George Washington (12-9, 7-5 in the conference) was led by Mike Brown's 21 points and 13 rebounds. Mike O'Reilly had 14 points and six assists; Darryl Webster had 13 points and five rebounds, and little-used reserve Brian Butler ended with a career-high 13 points.
Despite 27 points from Carlton Owens and 18 from Bryan Mitchell, the Rams (7-14, 1-11) lost their sixth straight game.
The Colonials played without junior guard Troy Webster and freshman guard Joe Dooley. Both were suspended for one game by Coach Gerry Gimelstob.
Dooley's suspension resulted from his actions Thursday night in the St. Joseph's loss, when he left the court and gymnasium after becoming frustrated at his play and being replaced.
The reason for Webster's punishment was not as clear. Gimelstob said he decided to hold Webster out "to let him see a few things."
"We thought it was best to sit Troy down . . . not entirely for basketball reasons," said Gimelstob, who declined to be more specific. "Joe just got frustrated and feels bad about it."
Webster, who has not played much recently after being benched, said, "We (Gimelstob) had a couple of disagreements after the (St. Joseph's) game and he suspended me. He said I needed to sit and think about a few things."
Fortunately for the roller-coaster Colonials, neither Dooley nor Webster was needed against Rhode Island. The game was tied at 5 before Brown, Darryl Webster and O'Reilly turned things in GW's favor.
In the first half, the 6-foot-10 Brown had 10 points and eight rebounds, Webster had nine points and O'Reilly had seven as GW moved out to a 38-23 lead at intermission.
"We needed this one to get back on track," Brown said. "We didn't do anything different offensively except make the open shots. When Mike (O'Reilly) opened the game with that three-pointer, everyone relaxed."
GW relaxed almost too soon. Led by freshman Owens, the Rams rallied to within 46-42 with just over 13 minutes to play. Following a turnover, Rhode Island had a chance to pull closer, but Owens lost the ball. GW then scored nine straight points, four of them by Brown, to gain a 55-42 lead with eight minutes to play.
"When we got it down to four, we just ran out of gas," first-year Rams Coach Coach Brendan Malone said. "It takes a lot out of you when you are making a big comeback."
For the remainder of the game, it was GW against Owens. The 6-foot guard scored eight straight baskets for the Rams at one point to keep them within range. But Rhode Island was helpless against Brown's inside play, Butler's nice moves and GW's 25-of-32 free throw shooting in the second half.
"This was a game we really needed to win," Gimelstob said. "We were coming off a bad game against St. Joe's and wanted to play well. We emphasized getting on the backboards more -- that's why I played Darryl early. Mike (O'Reilly) played extremely well. We need him to have those type of games."