Colonials Hold Off 49ers In Overtime, 86-85
March 4, 2006
WASHINGTON (AP) - Carl Elliot's basket at the buzzer helped No. 7 George Washington complete its first perfect Atlantic 10 season with an 86-85 overtime victory over Charlotte on Saturday.
Elliot caught Noel Wilmore's 3-point air ball in traffic in the paint and lofted the ball into the basket at the buzzer, extending the nation's longest winning streak to 18 games. The Colonials (26-1, 16-0) matched Temple in 1983-84 and 1987-88 and St. Joseph's in 2003-04 as teams with a perfect conference slate.
The Colonials got a huge break in the final 10 seconds of overtime when Charlotte was assessed with a technical foul. Maureece Rice missed a short jumper in traffic with the score 84-82. Charlotte got the rebound, but play was stopped because of an altercation between the 49ers' Leemire Goldwire and GW's Mike Hall with 5.7 seconds left.
Officials reviewed video of the play for several minutes. Hall was called for a foul, and Goldwire was given a technical. De'Angelo Alexander made one of two free throws for Charlotte, and Hall made both free throws for GW. The Colonials were awarded possession, setting up the dramatic finish.
Rice finished with 16 points to lead the Colonials, including an off-balance 3-pointer with 6.5 seconds in regulation remaining to force overtime, having chased down the rebound after a 3-point miss by Hall. Alexander had given Charlotte a 74-71 lead with a pair of free throws with 16 seconds to play.
Alexander scored 25 of his 32 points in the second half and overtime, and Withers and Goldwire scored 18 apiece for Charlotte (18-11, 11-5), which clinched the No. 2 seed in next week's conference tournament with La Salle's victory over Saint Louis.
The Colonials won their last three without center Pops Mensah-Bonsu, who was dubbed "The Mayor of Foggy Bottom" in the pregame ceremony honoring the team's five seniors.
George Washington hit its first two 3-pointers to take a 6-0 lead. Four different players - Wilmore, Danilo Pinnock, Hall and Rice - made 3s in a two-minute stretch midway through the half. Omar Williams' layup with 3:15 to go gave the Colonials a 10-point lead, and they were ahead 40-34 at the break, having made 7 of 13 3-pointers.
Meanwhile, Withers and Alexander struggled, going on combined 4-for-15 in the half for the 49ers. Goldwire kept Charlotte close with 13 first-half points on 5-for-8 shooting.
George Washington pushed the lead to 11 early in the second half with a pair of 3-pointers from Elliot, but Withers and Alexander revived their games to start a Charlotte comeback. Withers showed great strength to complete a layup in a three-point play, and Alexander made a fast-break layup and a 3-pointer to tie the game at 55 with 11:08 to play. Marcus Bennett then made two free throws to give the 49ers their first lead since early in the game, completing 9-0 run.
GW trailed by four with two minutes to play, but Pinnock made a fast-break layup and then stole the ball from Mitchell Baldwin and was fouled. But Pinnock missed the front end of the one-and-one, and the 49ers went ahead 72-67 on Alexander's 3-pointer with 59 seconds to play.
Rice cut the lead to three with a pair of free throws, and Williams dunked Pinnock's missed 3-pointer with 20 seconds remaining to make it a one-point game.