A quote in a story about the George Washington-Seton Hall game that appeared in yesterday's editions was mistakenly attributed to SirValiant Brown instead of teammate Chris Monroe. (Published 12/06/1999)
Emotions also bounce around quite a lot in basketball, as the George Washington men's team demonstrated over five days this week.
After an 18-point loss on the road to Ohio University on Tuesday, Coach Tom Penders talked about this being a "rebuilding" season. After a 72-63 victory over previously unbeaten Seton Hall yesterday in the first round of the BB&T Classic, Penders hinted that the Colonials might end up earning a bid to a postseason tournament.
"Incredible, isn't it?" center Francisco de Miranda said of the turnaround. "I was embarrassed [after the Ohio loss]. We didn't compete. I had a really bad feeling in my stomach ever since we got back. Everybody did. Coach did, too. But he stuck by us, made us believe we could bounce back."
The bounce came from freshman guard SirValiant Brown's 23 points, from terrific play by freshman reserve guard Chris Monroe and a defense that held the Pirates without a field goal for the final 12 minutes of the first half. It enabled the Colonials (3-3) to advance to the tournament's championship game tonight at MCI Center against No. 24 Maryland, which defeated 16th-ranked Illinois, 69-67.
After falling behind by 13 points early in the second half, Seton Hall (3-1) pulled to a 50-50 tie on a baseline jumper by guard Shaheen Holloway with 9 minutes 42 seconds left. But Monroe (16 points, seven rebounds) hit a tough three-pointer from the right wing that triggered a 14-4 run, and GW maintained control thereafter.
"I don't think we took GW lightly," Seton Hall Coach Tommy Amaker said. "Not from our preparation. I hope that wasn't the case."
The GW surge started early and slowly, with two baskets by Brown and four foul shots and a layin by Monroe turning a six-point deficit into a 21-19 lead midway through the first half. Monroe had 13 points in 12 minutes in the period.
During this run, backup forward Jason Smith blocked Holloway's driving shot after the Pirates spread the floor and he burst free down the lane.
In the next two minutes, Monroe and Brown combined for nine points and reserve center Patrick Ngongba blocked forward Gary Saunders as the lead grew to 11 points, 32-21. Brown's last basket was the most spectacular, an off-balance flip from six feet along the right baseline with Holloway practically glued to him.
There was more, but not so swiftly because the Colonials were trying to use as much time as possible before shooting in the final four-plus minutes before halftime. Still, Ngongba remained effective. He grabbed Mike King's miss and scored on a flip-in follow and later controlled a loose ball on the defensive end.
Had a layup by de Miranda (12 points, 10 rebounds) come an instant earlier instead of as the halftime buzzer sounded the Colonials would have led by 13 points instead of 38-27.
The Pirates began the second half with a shooting performance that would end at 60 percent for the period. But they could not get a lead--and Amaker said Monroe's tie-breaking three "really broke our backs [because] they got into a rhythm."
Throughout the game, GW effectively did what it set out to do: control the Seton Hall backcourt of Holloway and Rimas Kaukenas and dominate the rebounding. Holloway missed 10 of 11 shots and Kaukenas got off just three shots. The Pirates also had 28 turnovers, many on traveling calls caused by GW pressure.
However, the Colonials did not emphasize Seton Hall backup sophomore guard Darius Lane in their pre-game plans. Left open often before King got involved late, Lane hit 6 of 8 three-point attempts and, with 24 points, more than tripled his scoring average.
Brown took 26 shots, hitting nine.
"Coach stressed rebounding," Brown said, "and I got a lot of my points by crashing the boards."