GW Downs Providence, 83-77
Dec 8, 2001
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - George Washington knew it was playing a Providence team frustrated by a shooting slump and a lackluster start. Then it had to deal with a Friars squad rallying desperately after the ejection of its coach.
Were that not enough, the Colonials' leading scorer had fouled out.
But the Colonials withstood all that to defeat Providence, 83-77, on Saturday.
Chris Monroe scored 23 points for the winners. But he was on the bench when the Friars started their comeback after being down 79-70 with 1:17 left and fans already filing for the exits.
Providence closed to within two on a dunk by Ryan Gomes, after a steal by Garnett Thompson off an inbounds play. And the Friars had the ball with a chance to win after another George Washington turnover.
But Christopher Anrin missed an open three-pointer with 18 seconds left, and George Washington made all four free throws to seal the victory.
Gomes, in his second start, led the Friars (5-4) with 16 points. John Linehan had 12 points and Abdul Mills added 10 for Providence (5-3), which lost its third out of four games.
Providence coach Tim Welsh sat out Linehan and leading scorer Mills to start the game. The Friars seemed energized by the change and jumped out to a 9-0 lead behind reserves Sheiku Kabba and Rob Sanders.
The Friars led at halftime, 41-29.
Greg Collucci brought the Colonials back in the second half with eight consecutive points and a Monroe 3 broke a 61-61 tie with 7:31 left.
About two minutes later, Welsh was ejected after arguing a call. Standing in front of the scorer's table, Welsh appeared to kick the ball toward an approaching referee. He left the court after screaming at the officials.
"He thought I was overreacting," Welsh said. "I went to pick up the ball and slipped, and we kind of got nose-to-nose. I wasn't even mad at him. We seemed to play better after I left."
George Washington coach Karl Hobbs, in his first year, said he expected the Friars to rally after their coach's dismissal.
"I was nervous as hell," he said. "One thing I knew they wouldn't fall down in their own building."
Monroe fouled out with four minutes left and the Colonials up by eleven points.
But Hobbs' young team did not fold.
"I looked at my players' faces and they had unbelievable confidence that they could win the basketball game," he said.
George Washington did a lot of its damage inside against the taller, deeper Friars.
"Coach said their guys weren't that strong, and we tried to take advantage of that lack of strength," Smith said.
Providence's shooting slump continued as it shot 36 percent for the game. George Washington shot 51 percent.
The Friars are a banged-up unit. Romuald Augustin sat out with a nagging hip strain and Marcus Douthit left the game with a sore shoulder. Welsh made no excuses for the injuries, but said his team has yet to put together 40 minutes of solid basketball.
"We're a little snakebit right now," Welsh said. "Hopefully, the next eleven days we can get better, basketball-wise and health-wise. The young guys have to grow up a lot during that."