George Washington’s 13th consecutive home victory began with resounding simplicity: win the opening tap, lob a pass, dunk the ball.
Four seconds to bedlam.
“It was a good atmosphere,” GW Coach Mike Lonergan said. “We wanted to start the game with a dunk — that’s why we ran that play — and we wanted to get the crowd into the game early.”
The crowd got into it and remained engaged throughout a sterling first half.
Over 11-plus minutes, the Colonials (19-4, 7-2 Atlantic 10) made 16 consecutive field goals, including six three-pointers, and shot 76 percent en route to a 56-33 halftime lead.
They shot 59.3 percent overall – a shade shy of the season’s best – and made eight of their first 11 three-point tries.
Maurice Creek had 20 points and Patricio Garino had 18 as GW improved to 12-0 at home this season. With their seventh win in eight games, GW continued to gain momentum before facing four of the top six teams in the conference: Virginia Commonwealth on Wednesday in Richmond, Massachusetts at home next Saturday and then Richmond and 13th-ranked Saint Louis on the road.
Branden Frazier scored 23 points for Fordham (9-13, 2-7), which has never won at GW in 11 tries. Freshman Jon Severe, the conference’s leading scorer at 19.5 points , had nine on 2-of-7 shooting – his fewest attempts of the season.
Garino made the list for the ninth time in the past 10 games, continuing to help fill the void left by second-leading scorer Kethan Savage, who broke his left foot three weeks ago and won’t return until next month.
Garino’s alley-oop dunk, supplied by Creek, began the commanding performance.
“I was a little scared at the beginning,” said the 6-foot-5 sophomore guard from Argentina. “I’ve never caught an oop like that before. I know I can do it – in practice maybe or a pickup game. I’m glad it worked out.”
Said Creek: “I know he is very athletic, so I wanted to throw it up there. It was my first perfect pass to him. It was a good play to get our crowd going.”
The deluge began with three-pointers by seldom-used freshman Skyler White on consecutive possessions from almost the same spot. When White (eight points in 14 previous appearances) made his second, the five substitutes awaiting entry at the scorer’s table laughed and pointed in delight.
Layups, dunks, off-balance shots and three-pointers followed in blur of perfection. The Colonials were 21 of 26 at one point and led by 21 after 11 minutes and 29 nearing halftime.
“Not only did they get open looks, but open threes and knocking them down,” Rams Coach Tom Pecora said. “At that point, you play them even the rest of the game, it doesn’t matter.”
The lead peaked at 31 in the second half.
After two stress-free victories against Atlantic 10 weaklings, the Colonials will now enter a rugged stretch.
“When we play right, we play as a team, we play as we’ve been playing,” Creek said, “we can beat anybody in the country.”
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