- The Washington Times - Monday, December 4, 2006

George Washington’s Carl Elliott has developed quite a reputation for coming up big at key moments — and yesterday “Big Shot” did it again.

The point guard drew a foul while driving with seven seconds left and Virginia Tech ahead by one in the BB&T; Classic at Verizon Center. After some confusion while the referees reset the clock, Elliott swished two foul shots to give the Colonials a 63-62 victory.

GW coach Karl Hobbs must have been thrilled to have the cool senior at the foul line with the game on the line. After all, as a sophomore Elliott nailed a halfcourt shot to defeat Dayton. As a junior, he had a game-winning putback as time expired to beat Charlotte and give the Colonials a 16-0 record in the Atlantic 10.

“I told the ref that was a bad situation right there, but it was good,” said Elliott, who had to give the ball back to the officials before finally getting to shoot the tying and winning free throws. “It allowed me to gather myself and go back to the line.”

After tying the game, he showed his flair for drama by taking a break himself to tie his shoes, then calmly sinking the winning shot.

Elliott went 6-for-6 from the line in the final 4:41, scoring all of GW’s points during that stretch. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound defender also knocked the ball away from Virginia Tech’s Coleman Collins in the lane and out of bounds with 1.7 seconds left.

The Hokies (4-3) had one more chance, but A.D. Vassallo got the inbounds pass under the basket and missed badly, hitting the frame under the basket.

It was a bizarre and beautiful ending for the Colonials (5-1), who bounced back after being embarrassed by Providence last time out. Elliott, the lone returning starter from last season’s 27-3 team, broke out of a shooting slump by scoring 16 points, making eight of 10 free throws, grabbing seven rebounds and collecting five assists while playing all 40 minutes.

The Colonials trailed by nine at halftime but scored 13 straight after coming out of the locker room. GW got a big break at the end when Collins missed a wide-open dunk with 18 seconds left that would have given Virginia Tech a 64-61 advantage.

The Hokies were held to 24 points and shot 39.1 percent in the second half after hitting 56 percent before intermission. GW got a strong effort from forwards Regis Koundjia (10 points, 11 rebounds) and Rob Diggs (13 points, 5-for-6 shooting) in its first victory over a major conference opponent this season.

“I thought for the first time all year we showed great mental toughness,” Hobbs said of the defense in the final moments. “This win was huge because we are a team that is developing. We are a team that is trying to develop a personality.”

The Hokies lost for the third time in four games. Virginia Tech came into the season as a veteran group expecting to go to the NCAA tournament. Vassallo led the Hokies with 16 points off the bench. Jamon Gordon had 12 but only one after halftime.

“The first four minutes of the second half cost us the game,” Hokies coach Seth Greenberg said. “The [missed] dunk didn’t cost us the game. The turnovers at the beginning of the half cost us as much as the dunk.”

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