George Washington Advances Past Saint Louis, 60-40
Rice scores 22 points in victory.
March 9, 2007
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) - Maureece Rice scored 22 points and George Washington shut down its second consecutive opponent in the Atlantic 10 tournament, defeating Saint Louis 60-40 to reach the final for the second time in the last three seasons.
Carl Elliott added 11 points for the Colonials (22-8), who will face Rhode Island in Saturday's final. George Washington defeated the Rams 82-78 at home on Jan. 27 in the teams' only meeting this season. The Colonials have won their last seven games.
Kevin Lisch led Saint Louis (20-13) with 11 points.
George Washington won the Atlantic 10 tournament in 2005, beating Saint Joseph's in the final. They lost in the final in 1998 and 1991.
A night after forcing 21 turnovers by Saint Joseph's and holding the Hawks to 24 percent shooting in its quarterfinal victory, No. 3 seed George Washington was nearly as tough on the Billikens, who had defeated them 63-53 on Feb. 3.
With barely more than five minutes elapsed in the second half, Saint Louis was shooting 4-for-22 (18 percent) and had committed 17 turnovers. The Billikens finished 13-for-40 (33 percent), with many of the baskets scored in garbage time. They turned the ball over 20 times.
The Colonials needed the stellar defensive effort because their own shooting left much to be desired. They shot 11-for-30 (37 percent) in the first half but finished 23-of-55 (42 percent).
Rice was the shining exception in the first half. He was 5-for-8 for 12 points, nearly equaling Saint Louis' total of 16 points for the first 20 minutes.
He scored six consecutive points early in the second half to push the lead to 34-18, and his short baseline jumper gave the Colonials a 41-20 advantage with 9:30 remaining.
The seventh-seeded Billikens shot 63 percent in the second half of their 74-71 upset of No. 2 seed Massachusetts on Thursday, but none of the success carried over. They missed 17 of 21 shots in the first half and trailed by just 25-16 at the break only because George Washington was misfiring as well.
As bad as Saint Louis' offensive performance was, it wasn't their worst of the season. That dubious distinction goes to a 69-33 loss at Texas A&M on Nov. 19.