George Washington Advances Past UNC Wilmington In OT, 88-85

March 16, 2006

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GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) - The last wild momentum swing in a game full of them went George Washington's way.

Maureece Rice scored 20 points and had a key defensive play in overtime to help the Colonials rally from an 18-point deficit and beat UNC Wilmington 88-85 Thursday night in the first round of the Atlanta Regional.

Omar Williams had 16 points and nine rebounds for the eighth-seeded Colonials (27-2), who advanced to face the Duke-Southern University winner in Saturday's second round. Carl Elliott added 15 points and hit two free throws with 11.6 seconds left to send the game into overtime, while Danilo Pinnock had all 11 of his points after halftime.

T.J. Carter scored 25 points to lead the ninth-seeded Seahawks (25-8), who shot 59 percent and hit 11 3-pointers for the game but couldn't hold onto a four-point lead with 2 minutes left in OT.

This was March basketball at it's maddest, with 18 lead changes and 10 ties.

UNC Wilmington used a torrid stretch of 11-for-13 shooting to open the second half and build a 64-46 lead, only to see George Washington rally behind a tenacious pressing defense that led to several easy baskets. The Colonials went on a 19-0 run to get back in a game that nearly got away from them.

In the end, though, the Colonials scored the game's final seven points to earn their first NCAA tournament win in a dozen years.

With UNC Wilmington leading 85-81 on a 3-pointer from Beckham Wyrick, Pinnock - who played just 4 first-half minutes due to foul trouble - drained a 3 to cut the deficit to one with 1:39 left. Then, after a missed jumper from Carter, the Colonials pushed ahead for good on a hanging layup by Williams to make it 86-85 with 1:06 left.

The Seahawks - who seemed like they couldn't miss for much of the game - couldn't come up with a final answer. Carter missed a 3 for the lead on the next play, and Rice stripped John Goldsberry on a drive to force a turnover on the next Seahawks possession with 10.3 seconds left.



Elliott twice went 1-for-2 at the line in those final seconds to make it 88-85, and Wyrick missed a long 3 to tie it just before the final horn sounded.

UNC Wilmington had a chance to end the game in regulation when Carter drained a 3-pointer for a 79-77 lead with 25 seconds left. But Carter fouled Elliott on a 3, and Elliott went 2-for-3 to force the extra period.

George Washington's Pops Mensah-Bonsu had 10 points in his return after missing the past four games due to knee surgery to repair a slight tear in the cartilage of his left knee.