Sunday, March 10, 2013

GW Tops Dayton, Advances to A-10 Tourney

GW fans celebrate Colonials OT win over Dayton

Bryan Bynes and Dwayne Smith walked off Charles E. Smith Center winners yesterday, after George Washington's thrilling 81-80 overtime win over Dayton. The victory secured an A-10 post-season tournament bid for the Colonials (13-16, 7-9 A-10) who will likely face UMass on Thursday night in a first round contest at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Lasan Kromah (12 points) took the ball the length of the court with 7.7 seconds left in OT, but missed a lay-up... only to have Isaiah Armwood follow up with a thunderous slam to put GW up by one with 2.4 seconds remaining. Dayton's Dyshawn Pierre hit a corner trey after the buzzer, securing the win for GW and eliminating the Flyers (17-13, 7-9) from the A-10 tournament.

Bryan Bynes returned from injury, to help lead GW to victory

GW was led by a balanced attack that saw five Colonials score in double figures. Freshman Joe McDonald led the way with 16 points in a career-high 36 minutes; with Smith (15) and Bynes (13) close behind. Armwood and Kromah each chipped in with 12 points. Frosh Kevin Larsen almost made it six, but had to settle for eight points to go along with eight rebounds.

The game was plagued by fouls (56 total and four disqualifications, including three for Dayton) and terrible free throw shooting by GW (20-42, 47.6%.) Win or not, the Colonials simply have to address this issue in the off-season. McDonald actually missed four in a row (two in the final 1:31 of regulation, and two more in OT.) Oddly enough, the plucky point guard didn't have a single assist in the contest (GW finished with only six as a team) but committed just two turnovers and converted a huge steal into a layup to draw the Colonials within two with 40 seconds left in OT.

Senior F Dwayne Smith went off in style yesterday

Speaking of defense, Smith (above) has to be considered the hero of the game. Not only did he make six of 11 shots from the field, but he added two blocks and four steals (the last, with just 34 seconds left. He converted a layup to tie the game at 79.) Even more impressive, Smith accomplished all this in just 22 minutes. I always thought the 6'6 Toronto native was underused during his four-year career at GW... Imagine if he were 2-3 inches taller? I dare you to find a more aggressive player during the same time span.

It's been an up and down campaign this season, but GW may have saved its best for last. Head coach Mike Lonergan earned his 400th career victory (at home, no less) while the Colonials broke a four game losing streak at precisely the right time. Who knows, maybe they have a post-season run left in them? Congratulations to Mr. Bynes and Mr. Smith... Your tenacious efforts will be sorely missed at Smith Center.

Click here for yesterday's box score.