- The Washington Times - Monday, December 7, 2009

Strong outside shooting permitted Navy to stick around for more than a half in Sunday’s BB&T; Classic.

George Washington’s surplus of athleticism, though, ensured the Midshipmen’s run at a victory couldn’t come to fruition.

Damian Hollis scored 18 points, and Lasan Kromah added 16 points as the Colonials turned back a second-half rally to secure a 81-69 win at Verizon Center.

“We didn’t lose our poise, and that’s a sign of growth for our team,” GW coach Karl Hobbs said.

GW (6-1) is already more than halfway to its victory total from last year, a 10-18 campaign that was the Colonials’ second straight losing season. Yet even with a young roster, GW appears to have restocked its depth closer to the level it enjoyed when it reached three straight NCAA tournaments earlier this decade.

The Colonials, while not always efficient with their shot selection, nevertheless eroded the Mids (4-5) during a 14-0 run in the second half to improve to 13-12 all-time in the BB&T.;

“We just hate to hear the whistle blow to stop the action,” Hobbs said. “We only want to hear the whistle blow because we’re subbing. We really want to try to utilize our depth and our speed and quickness.”

GW played without freshmen Bryan Bynes, David Pellom and Daymon Warren, who were suspended a game for violating team rules.

Guard Chris Harris scored 26 points for the Mids, whose two-game winning streak was snapped. But Navy committed 21 turnovers, which led to 21 Colonials points.

“Anytime you turn it over, whenever the stretch was, it’s like, ‘Bang,’ ” Navy coach Billy Lange said. “It’s right down to the other end, and you can forget about it. They’re that quick off the turnover.”

Navy handled center Mark Veazey’s early foul trouble better than expected, building a 22-15 lead in the middle of the first half. But the Colonials, buoyed by a bevy of options who created a virtual revolving door at the scorer’s table, used pressure and speed to work their way back into the game.

GW carried a two-point lead into the second half and didn’t need much time to expand its edge to 55-45. Yet the Mids, making their third BB&T; appearance, exploited a rash of fouls to rattle off a 15-6 run of their own.

Much of the rally was due to Harris, who connected on a pair of 3-pointers during the spurt. His drive to the basket closed Navy to within 61-60.

“He was special,” Hobbs said. “He was a one-man wrecking crew. Coach told me they were in exams. He must not have had any exams this week, because he was focused on knocking down shots.”

The Colonials quickly regrouped, and Tim Johnson’s 3-pointer with 8:09 left pushed GW’s lead beyond a possession for good.


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