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GW runs past Maryland

December 05, 2004

WASHINGTON (AP) - George Washington coach Karl Hobbs hopes the Colonials' weekend sweep of ranked teams is a beginning rather than a two-day aberration.

T.J. Thompson scored 27 points and George Washington upset No. 12 Maryland 101-92 on Sunday in the championship game of the BB&T Classic.

"The measuring stick for this team will be at the end of the (season). ... We took a step further to our goal. We took a step further to our dream," Hobbs said after George Washington's fifth straight victory. "That's what we're focusing on."

J.R. Pinnock added 22 points and Omar Williams scored 11 of his 14 in the second half for the Colonials (5-1), who beat No. 11 Michigan State 96-83 in the semifinals.

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George Washington's only loss was the season opener at top-ranked Wake Forest in the Preseason NIT.

"Even though we lost, we took it as a learning experience," Thompson said of the game against the Demon Deacons. "We got under control and learned to play together. When the time comes, we band together and don't let nothing get in our way."

John Gilchrist led Maryland (4-2) with 23 points, while Nik Caner-Medley had 16 and James Gist and Travis Garrison each added 12.

Maryland, which made only 14 of 28 free throws, has lost two of three. And the Terrapins had to rely too heavily on their long-range game, where they connected on only six of 23 3-pointers.

"We can't be a 3-point shooting team first," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "We have to go inside-out with our offense. We haven't learned that yet and it hurts us in big games."

George Washington claimed its third BB&T championship and denied the Terrapins their fifth in the tournament's 10-year history.

Maryland rebounded from an eight-point deficit at halftime to take a 58-57 lead on Gist's tipin 5:46 into the second half. Gist, a freshman reserve, scored 10 points in 3 1/2 minutes to spark the struggling Terrapins.

"We had a couple good opportunities there to maybe take over the game, but GW always seemed to come up with a big play, a big shot," Williams said.

Gist's heroics didn't prevent the Colonials from breaking the Maryland press, getting 3-pointers from Thompson and Hall, and Ricky Lucas capped a 15-9 spurt by scoring on an offensive rebound for a 76-69 lead.

Two baskets by Gilchrist got the Terrapins within 83-82, but Williams drained a 3-pointer from the right side and Pinnock hit a short jumper to put George Washington up 88-82.

Instead of wilting under the Terrapins' ability to use defense to produce quick spurts of offense, the Colonials kept their cool.

"Maryland is probably the best team in the country at stealing the ball and then converting," Hobbs said. "They are terrific at doing that so we knew we had to play with some composure."

Pinnock's slam on a fast break made it 94-89 with 41 seconds left and the Colonials hit seven of eight free throws down the stretch.

George Washington shot 59 percent (20-for-34) from the field and took advantage of 10 Maryland turnovers to score 12 points en route to a 49-41 halftime lead. The Colonials were 6-of-9 from beyond the arc.

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