No. 10 George Washington Beat Xavier

Friday, February 3rd 2006, 7:22 am
By: News On 6

CINCINNATI (AP) George Washington looked vulnerable for a half. Then, the 10th-ranked Colonials were set straight at halftime.

``I told the guys to settle down,'' said coach Karl Hobbs, whose team trailed unranked Xavier by 10 at the half before rallying for an 89-85 win Thursday night.

``Let's have some poise,'' Hobbs said he told his players. ``Let's have some patience.''

Nobody got the message better than Maureece Rice. His steal and layup 28 seconds into the second half set the tone for the rest of the game.

``The fact that we were up by 10 at the half and 17 during the first half had more to do with the way we were shooting the ball than anything else,'' Xavier coach Sean Miller said.

``I thought they were the deeper team tonight. They have a style that fits their personnel. They have a hungry group of guys. At times in the second half, that hunger really showed, getting loose balls and second shots.''

George Washington has made a habit of wearing down opponents. It was Rice, who tied a career high, who led the way Thursday night by scoring 15 of his 21 points in the second half.

``We have such depth that when the other team gets tired around the 8-minute or 7-minute mark, we make our move,'' Hobbs said. ``We've done some tremendous things around that time this year.''

The Colonials (17-1, 7-0 Atlantic 10), who hadn't won on the Musketeers' home court in 10 years, have won nine straight games since being blown out at North Carolina State on Dec. 30.

In the only other game involving a ranked team, No. 14 UCLA beat Arizona State 69-60.

Xavier built a 10-point halftime lead by shooting 50 percent from the field and playing tough defense.

``We should have closed out the game,'' said Stanley Burrell, who had 12 points for Xavier and a chance to win it at the end.

``The first half, we were getting out and pushing the ball,'' he said. ``The second half, they picked us up all the way to half court and took us out of what we wanted to do.''

George Washington went on a 15-1 run, including three baskets and two free throws by Rice, in the second half to take its biggest lead at 70-62 with 8:58 to play.

Rice opened the half with a steal and drove the length of the court to get one run started. Even after the second run, the Colonials couldn't put away Xavier (13-5, 4-3) until Rice hit a 3-pointer with 36 seconds left.

Burrell, who beat George Washington on the road last year with a deep 3-pointer just before the buzzer, had a 3-point shot roll around the hoop and rim out with 16 seconds left.

Then, Carl Elliott hit four free throws in the final 11 seconds to seal the win. Elliott finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds for his first career double-double.

Brian Thornton finished with 21 points for Xavier, and Justin Doellman had 17.

George Washington led 5-4, but Dedrick Finn hit a jumper at 17:42 and a 3-pointer 20 seconds later as the Musketeers put together a 14-1 run that Burrell capped with a jumper at 14:58.

Doellman had 13 in the half, and Burrell 11 of his 12, and the Musketeers' took their biggest lead at 17 points when Doellman made a pair of free throws to make it 38-21 with 7:20 left.

Only a last-second 3-pointer by Danilo Pinnock let the Colonials pull within 10 at 53-43 as the half ended.

``The game could have gone either way,'' said Hobbs, who earlier this week said he was surprised the Colonials were ranked No. 10. ``Two evenly matched teams.''

Mike Hall, who finished with 18 points, said his George Washington teammates weren't concerned with rankings.

``We don't pay attention to outside opinion or rankings,'' Hall said. ``We know how good we are, and that's all that matters to us.''

No. 14 UCLA 69, Arizona State 60

At Los Angeles, Jordan Farmar scored 18 points and Arron Afflalo added 17 to help UCLA remain alone atop the Pac-10 standings.

The Bruins (18-4, 8-2) didn't take their first double-digit lead until Afflalo hit a jumper with 2:39 remaining.

UCLA has a one-game lead over California and Stanford, which both won Thursday, and two games over Arizona, which lost at Southern California.

The Sun Devils (7-12, 1-9) dropped their fourth in a row. Bryson Krueger led them with 14 points as their leading scorer, Kevin Kruger, was held to eight.