After Noel Wilmore drained a long 3-pointer to beat the halftime buzzer, George Washington coach Karl Hobbs remained motionless in a catcher-style crouch for several seconds while Smith Center erupted with glee.
He probably was trying to think of something to critique during his halftime speech.
Carl Elliot had a career-high 29 points, and the Colonials (2-0) dismantled Dartmouth 94-49 last night in front of 3,261.
“I don’t remember us just playing every possession with a sense of urgency,” Hobbs said of the game’s first 20 minutes. “I’ve been looking for us to play at that kind of speed. For us to play at that high level with that type of speed, the best part about it was we weren’t turning the ball over. We were very controlled.”
The first half was a near-perfect exhibition for GW against an overmatched Big Green group. The Colonials raced to an 8-0 lead and didn’t slow down, smothering Dartmouth with fullcourt pressure on defense and a spread ‘em out and dissect approach at the offensive end. Wilmore’s buzzer-beater followed a 3-pointer by Elliot and pushed GW’s halftime advantage to 52-18.
Elliot’s performance in the first half was particularly pristine. He had 19 points on 7-for-9 shooting. The rebound was tipped back to him on one of the misses, and he twisted his way into the lane for a layup and was fouled. The other miss was another drive and acrobatic layup on which there was plenty of contact but no foul called. He also had four of his five assists, a steal and several deflections.
About the only mistake the senior from Brooklyn, N.Y., made was a traveling violation with 5:26 left in the half.
“I didn’t honestly [expect to score so much],” said Elliot, who has scored 54 points in two games. “My shots are falling, and I guess the work over the summer paid off. I take the shots now with confidence, and they’re dropping.”
GW stretched its lead to 28-7 with 10 straight points before a pair of sluggish possessions and a breakdown with its fullcourt defense yielded a wide-open 3-pointer for Dartmouth’s Michael Giovacchini. Hobbs quickly jumped out of his seat in displeasure and called for a timeout.
The Colonials responded with a precisely executed halfcourt possession and eight consecutive points for the third time in the half.
GW’s relentless defensive pressure forced 24 Dartmouth turnovers, which it converted into 37 points. The breakneck pace set by the Colonials led to many open jump shots, and they made 10 of 16 3-pointers.
“We didn’t want to run with them. We wanted to slow it down and run some clock,” Dartmouth coach Jerry Dunn said. “They shot the ball very well in the first half … and they kept us on our heels defensively.”
While Maureece Rice dictated the flow of the game and scored at will, GW’s frontcourt of Dokun Akingbade (eight points, career-high 10 rebounds), Rob Diggs (nine points, five rebounds) and Regis Koundjia (15 points, four rebounds) dominated in the paint. They consistently leapt over Big Green players, getting their hands on nearly every missed shot at the defensive end and creating second and third chances at the offensive end.
After the Colonials stretched the second half lead to 40 points, Dartmouth finally made a run. The Big Green cut the lead to 80-46 before two free throws by Elliot.
Koundjia then hit a wide-open 3-pointer, stole the ball at the other end and finished the fast break with a thunderous reverse dunk.