George Washington was 6 of 6 from the free throw line in the final two minutes and had two key defensive stops in the final 13 seconds to escape with an 80-74 victory over Indiana State late Friday night in the Top of the World Classic.
The Colonials (1-0) played Oklahoma (1-0) in a semifinal game late last night.
George Washington led the entire first half of Friday's game and took a 38-31 lead into the break, but the Colonials never were able to break away from Indiana State and found themselves in a dogfight in the second half. The Colonials trailed 74-72 with just more than two minutes to play before using an 8-0 run to put away the Sycamores.
"I know we can play better," Colonials Coach Tom Penders said. "We got away with a win against a good team, a team that could be a postseason team."
The Colonials forced 27 turnovers, including 18 in the first half, but none was more important than a deflected pass that went off an Indiana State player with 13.2 seconds remaining.
Trailing 76-74, the Sycamores' Kelyn Block tried to force a pass inside to forward Brian Giesen, but the ball was tipped away and went out of bounds off Block's fingertips.
The final 12 seconds of play belonged to Colonials freshman SirValiant Brown. Brown (Lee High School) hit two free throws to expand the lead to four, then blocked a shot by Giesen, knocking the ball out of play off Giesen's knee. Brown broke downcourt, caught a long pass and laid the ball in the basket as time expired.
Brown finished with 19 points and junior guard Bernard Barrow added 17. The two players combined to make only 13 of 46 field goal attempts, however. Freshman guard Chris Monroe (Good Counsel) scored 16 and was 4 of 5 from the field and 7 of 7 from the free throw line, and junior guard Mike King was 7 of 11 from the field and scored 15.
* AMERICAN 68, NORTH CAROLINA A&T 58: Hasheem Alexander scored 16 points yesterday to lead the host Eagles in the season opener for both teams before 4,172, the largest opening-day crowd in the 13-year history of Bender Arena.
AU forward Patrick Doctor scored 12 points before fouling out in 24 minutes. Saliou-Binet Telly had 11 rebounds and 10 points.
Freshman reserve guard Ronald Hearns, son of former world boxing champion Thomas Hearns, made a three-pointer to give American a 14-8 lead. He finished with five points and was 2-for-12 shooting.
* DEPAUL 105, HOWARD 61: Player of the year candidate Quentin Richardson scored 28 points in the 359th and final game at DePaul's Alumni Hall, which was built in 1956 and is set to be torn down in the spring.
Paul McPherson scored 22 and Bobby Simmons contributed 20 for the No. 20 Blue Demons (1-0) in the schools' first meeting.
Reggie Morris scored 19 points and Jonathan Stokes added 11 for the Bison (0-1).