Freshman Marcus Oliver sank a free throw with 2.8 seconds left to lift Houston past George Washington, 93-92, tonight in the third-place game of the Top of the World Classic.
Oliver finished with eight points, including three free throws in the final minute.
"He was the dude going down the stretch," Houston Coach Clyde Drexler said of the 6-foot-3 guard.
George Washington (1-2) finished fifth in the eight-team tournament. Houston (2-1) finished third.
The two teams were well-matched with a fast, aggressive style of play. Houston made 54 percent of its shots; George Washington shot 44 percent.
Point guard Gee Gervin led Houston with 18 points but spent much of the second half on the bench in foul trouble. That opened up an opportunity for George Washington freshman guard SirValiant Brown to score.
When Gervin returned late in the second half, he tied the score at 82 with 3:54 to play.
Brown (Lee High School) was George Washington's top scorer with 31 points.
The Colonials trailed the Cougars for most of the first half, but pulled ahead in the last two minutes to take the lead 53-49 at halftime. Brown led the Colonials with 17 points in the first half.
George Washington fell to Oklahoma, 73-54, late Saturday night in the semifinal round. The Sooners forced the Colonials to try to score from outside and GW was unable to deliver. The Colonials' guards five guards combined to shoot 15 of 42, including 6 of 27 from three-point range.
After struggling to take a slim 37-34 lead at the half, Oklahoma dominated the second half. The Sooners scored the first seven points of the second half and led by 24 points before settling for the 19-point victory.
Brown was 6 of 22 for the Colonials against the Sooners, including 4 of 13 from three-point range.
"Val is not shooting extremely well yet," Colonials Coach Tom Penders said. "It is mostly fundamentals with him, his footwork. Mateen Cleaves was shooting like 17 percent after the first 10 or 12 games last year. We don't get down on the kids. They are feeling their way through."
VIRGINIA 98, VMI 57: Host Virginia went on a 32-9 first-half run and forced 30 turnovers with a full-court press against Virginia Military Institute. Travis Watson and Chris Williams led Virginia with 16 points each, and six players scored at least nine for the Cavaliers. The victory was the 20th straight for Virginia (2-0) over the Keydets, dating from 1964.
VMI (2-1), led by center Eric Mann's 12 points, cut the lead to 18 several times early in the second half but got no closer. The Keydets were outscored 30-11 to close the game.