- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 5, 2006

Carl Elliott made one of the most dramatic shots in George Washington basketball history last season, hitting a running 3-pointer as time expired to beat Dayton.

Yesterday, Elliott topped it.

The junior point guard from Brooklyn swooped in from the left wing, corralled freshman Noel Wilmore’s airball in midair and dropped in an improbable game-winning basket as the seventh-ranked Colonials topped Charlotte 86-85 in overtime to complete a perfect regular-season run through the Atlantic 10.

“You know, I’m a big-shot guy,” Elliott deadpanned.

Bedlam ensued after Elliott’s basket. The much larger-than-normal GW student section at a sold-out Smith Center poured onto the floor in celebration, leading to players sitting on fans’ shoulders above the melee and standing and dancing on the scorer’s table.

“If I ever need something, if I’m ever in a desperate situation, I’ve got to call this guy [pointing to Elliott] right here,” junior guard Danilo Pinnock said. “He’s money.”

The Colonials secured their 18th straight victory only after a controversial sequence that led to Elliott’s shot. With GW (26-1, 16-0) trailing by two, sophomore guard Maureece Rice missed a 3-pointer, and Charlotte’s De’Angelo Alexander collected the rebound.

During the scrum for the ball, 49ers guard Leemire Goldwire hit GW’s Mike Hall in the head with what appeared to be an inadvertent elbow and then an intentional one.

There was a long delay as the officials reviewed the video replay. After the break, Hall was assessed a foul for grabbing Alexander’s jersey and Goldwire was given technical foul. After the game, lead official Fran Connolly told the Associated Press that a technical foul was called immediately after the play and the video review was only used to see if it was a punch, which would have warranted an ejection of Goldwire.

“They said they called [the technical] immediately and they just used the monitor to check that,” Charlotte coach Bobby Lutz said. “I actually never saw them signal that, but just saw them go to the monitor.”

Alexander made one of two free throws to put the 49ers (18-11, 11-5) ahead 85-82 and Hall connected on both of the technical foul shots to set up the final play. Hall inbounded the ball to Rice, who fed Wilmore on the right wing.

GW forward Regis Koundjia might have been in position on the left block to catch the airball, but Elliott jumped over him to grab it.

“I saw the shot go up and the only thing I could think of was to go rebound it and put it in the hole,” Elliott said. “I don’t even know what I was thinking [after the shot went in]. I just got up and started running. I just ran over to my mom and gave her a hug.”

Alexander led all scorers with 32 points, while Goldwire and Curtis Withers had 18 each. Pinnock had a quiet first half, but scored 12 of GW’s 13 points during a stretch in the second half and led five Colonials in double figures with 19 points.

Charlotte nearly had the game won in regulation. The 49ers led by five after an Alexander 3-pointer with 61 seconds left, one of seven by him in the game. After Alexander made two free throws to put Charlotte ahead 74-71, Hall missed a 3-pointer. Rice grabbed the long rebound and buried a fadeaway 3 from the left corner with eight seconds left.

Rice’s basket ended a 3-point drought for the Colonials. After GW made 10 of its first 16 3-pointers, the Colonials missed 11 straight. Hobbs also pointed to the eight missed free throws out of 16 — including two front ends of one-and-ones — and 18 turnovers as areas to improve as his team readies for the A-10 and NCAA tournaments.

Regardless of how much Hobbs has tried to downplay GW’s accomplishments this season, the fourth perfect regular season in conference history is a long way from where the program was when he inherited it in 2001.

“I really want the players to enjoy this moment and to really enjoy what they’ve accomplished,” Hobbs said. “It is incredible when you put this in proper prospective what these guys have done.”

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