Friday , Mar , 17 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

GW makes incredible rally to beat UNC-Wilmington in OT

=== GW makes incredible rally to beat UNC-Wilmington in OT ===

Greensboro, NC (Sports Network) – Senior Omar Williams extended his collegiate
career by converting the go-ahead basket with 1:06 left in overtime, and
eighth seed George Washington completed a remarkable comeback with a thrilling
88-85 victory over ninth-seeded UNC-Wilmington in a first-round game of the
Atlanta bracket in the NCAA Tournament.

Williams was one of six Colonials in double figures with 16 points while
Maureece Rice led the way with 20. Carl Elliot made two free throws at the end
of regulation to force overtime and tallied 15 points. Mike Hall posted 13
points and 10 rebounds for George Washington (27-2), which stormed back from
an 18-point second-half deficit.

Danilo Pinnock contributed 11 points and Pops Mensah-Bonsu scored 10 in his
first action since February 22.

The Colonials will play top seed Duke in second-round action on Saturday.

“I’m excited about it (playing Duke),” Pinnock said. “You can’t go into a big
game playing Duke, or some other big program, and not be excited about it.
We’re the little guys, so we live for these types of games.”

T.J. Carter led all scorers with 25 points and John Goldsberry added 14 points
and nine assists for the Seahawks (25-8), while Beckham Wyrick tallied 13
points and Vladimir Kuljanin contributed 12 points in defeat.

George Washington found itself in an unsettling position midway through the
second half. The Atlantic 10 regular-season champion was staring at a 64-46
deficit, while also having to deal with a continuously vocal pro-Seahawks
crowd that made the short trip to Greensboro.

However, before anyone in the Greensboro Coliseum could blink, the Colonials
reeled off 19 consecutive points in under four minutes to take a 66-65 lead.
An up-and-down, chaotic tempo and five Seahawk turnovers triggered the spurt
and Pinnock’s mid-range jumper pushed the Colonials in front.

Several minutes later, Rice buried a contested three from the top of the
circle to give George Washington a 73-71 lead, but Goldsberry slid into the
left corner off an in-bound pass and drained an open trey to put the Seahawks
back up by one with 2:05 to play.

Trailing 76-75, Elliot sliced into the lane and missed a running jumper but
Hall tipped it in to put the Colonials in front with 53 ticks left.

Without a timeout, the Seahawks isolated Carter at the top of the key and the
guard buried a three to make the score 79-77 with 25 seconds remaining.

However, Carter then inexplicably fouled Elliot shooting a trey and the GW
guard made 2-of-3 from the stripe to tie the game. Carter raced to the other
end but missed a pull-up jumper.

Carter tallied the first two points of overtime with a pair from the stripe at
the 3:24 mark, then Mensah-Bonsu scored on the block to tie the contest once

Wyrick made 1-of-2 from the free throw line then connected on a trey to push
the Seahawks in front 85-81. Elliot answered with a three on the other end to
cut the deficit to one with 1:39 left.

Williams then received a pass on the run and pulled up for a bank shot to hand
GW an 86-85 lead. Carter missed a tough long-distance shot and UNC-Wilmington
fouled Elliot, who made 1-of-2 from the stripe.

Goldsberry then got by Rice in an attempt to attack the basket, but Rice
reached from behind and knocked the ball away. Elliot was fouled and again
made only 1-of-2 to give the Seahawks a chance.

Wyrick’s deep three-point heave bounced off the back rim and the Colonials’
comeback was complete.

“It’s amazing that we were able to will ourselves to this game,” George
Washington head coach Karl Hobbs said. “I thought we played our hearts out, we
never gave up, and played hard on every possession.”

The two stories of an evenly played opening half were Pinnock’s foul trouble
and the Colonials’ three-point shooting.

Pinnock, George Washington’s leading scorer, spent most of the opening half on
the bench and was held scoreless after picking up his third foul at the 12-
minute mark. The Colonials stayed afloat thanks in part to a barrage of three-
pointers, six in all, against a Seahawks’ defense that ranked first in the
NCAA in three-point percentage defense.

Both teams traded blows and the half concluded with the contest squared at
36-36. Mensah-Bonsu made his first two field goals, but didn’t score in the
final 15 minutes while Kuljanin led the Seahawks with 10 points.

UNC-Wilmington scored the first seven points of the second half capped by
Kuljanin’s half hook from the right block to make the score 43-36.

The Colonials made 10 straight shots spanning the end of the first half and
the beginning of the second 20 minutes. The Seahawks also shared the ball,
assisting on 15 of their first 21 field goals.

Game Notes

This was the first-ever meeting between the two schools…Williams added nine
rebounds in the victory…UNC-Wilmington shot 65.4 percent in the second half,
but still could not hold on for the victory…The Seahawks made just 3-of-6
from the charity stripe in overtime… Mitch Laue had seven points and nine
boards while Todd Hendley tallied 10 points in the loss.