Colonials Edged By No. 2 Texas 100-92
Dec 7, 2002
By DAVID GINSBURG
WASHINGTON - On an afternoon in which No. 2 Texas was rendered defenseless, James Thomas provided enough muscle on the opposite end to make up for the shortcoming.
Thomas scored a career-high 26 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and led two second-half runs as the Longhorns squeezed past George Washington 100-92 Saturday.
Texas, which trailed by eight points before halftime, advanced to Sunday's championship game of the BB&T Classic. The Longhorns (5-0) will face the winner of Saturday's second game between No. 9 Maryland and Notre Dame.
The Colonials (3-2), who shot 50 percent and went 32-for-41 at the line, gave Texas fits for virtually the entire game.
"Defensively, we weren't very good," Texas coach Rick Barnes said. "We are going to be a great defensive team, but we aren't one right now. We didn't do what we needed to do on the defensive end."
It didn't matter, because Thomas was a force in the lane. The 6-foot-8 junior made 10 of 11 field-goal attempts and scored 20 points after halftime to fuel the Longhorns' comeback.
Texas led 76-73 before Brian Boddicker scored on a tip-in and Thomas followed with a three-point play to make it 81-73 with 3:52 remaining, effectively ending the Colonials' upset bid.
"When the game was on the line, they went inside to him," GW coach Karl Hobbs said. "He's as strong a guy as we'll face all year. When he comes out, he looks like a WWF wrestler."
Thomas easily eclipsed his previous career high of 20 points before fouling out with 14.8 seconds to go.
By then, the damage was done.
"We knew we weren't playing our game," Thomas said. "But in the second half we went out and executed."
T.J. Ford scored 16 points and Brandon Mouton had 15 for the Longhorns, off to their best start since going 14-0 to open the 1981-82 season.
Ford, Texas' leading scorer, fouled out with 3:45 left after a horrid 5-for-15 shooting performance.
"You have to have others step up," he said. "I'm not the only player on this team."
"Because they play aggressively, I thought we could go inside," Hobbs said.
Thomas scored six points as the Longhorns opened the second half with a 16-7 run to take a 59-52 lead. The Colonials crept within two points before Terrell Ross hit a 3-pointer and Sydmill Harris sank a foul shot to make it 64-58.
But the pesky Colonials stayed close by being efficient at the line. Despite going five minutes with only one basket, GW made nine free throws to close to 68-65 with 7:27 left.
Thompson scored 13 points, and the Colonials forced 12 turnovers to take a 45-43 halftime lead.
After Texas missed its first six shots, Thomas got the Longhorns started with a putback to launch an 11-2 run, capped by reserve Brad Buckman's five straight points.
GW responded with a 12-3 run to go up 24-21, and minutes later Thompson scored six points during a 10-2 run that made it 36-28.