This was a game where Duke’s experience in Tournament games was the difference as their seniors took charge early on and then refused to relinquish their grip on the game. Despite pulling to within 10 points late in the second half the Colonials ran out of steam and didn’t have one last “spurt” to save their season.
George Washington tried to employ a full court press but as soon as they had some mild success with their press it would break down and Duke would find Sheldon Williams under the basket for the easy deuce. Making things worse for the Colonials was the fact that GW would miss an easy basket and Duke would march down the court and would nail a bit shot to make that miss more painful while widening the gap. There was one series in which Danilo Pinnock missed a put-back in the paint and Duke came down the court and J.J. Redick nailed a huge three to push Duke’s ahead 27 to 20. It’s plays like this where instead of pulling to within two points George Washington found themselves down seven points heading into a timeout.
Things continued to spiral out of control for the Colonials as Duke went onto a 19-4 run to open up a 36-20 lead. As the Colonials suffered through three and four minute stretches where they were held scoreless things looked bleak for George Washington’s chances of advancing in the Tournament.
At the end of the first half Duke’s Williams and Redick were stuck on the bench due to foul trouble and George Washington finished the half strong to close the deficit to just 11 points. Colonials fans were excited about their chances of pulling off the upset since their team had overcome a 18 point deficit against North Carolina-Wilmington Friday afternoon and earlier this season George Washington used 21-8 run in the second half against Xavier for a big win back in February.
The Colonials rallied in the second half to cut the Duke lead to nine on a steal and a dunk by Danilo Pinnock but Duke was able to score 11 of the next 14 points to maintain control of the game as the Colonials didn’t have one last “spurt” left to save their season.
Duke victory was fueled by the intimidating presence in the paint that Josh McRoberts and Williams provided and the strong play of their starting backcourt. McRoberts and Williams combined for six blocks and 22 of Duke’s 29 boards to limit George Washington’s second chance points while Duke’s starting backcourt of Greg Paulis and J.J. Redick went 9-18 from the field and combined for 30 points and 8 dimes.
Duke's Sheldon Williams had three blocks in the first half and finished the game with five swats, 11 boards and 17 points.
J.J Redick battled through foul trouble to finish the game with 20 points on 7 for 14 shooting.
Sat 03/18/06, 4:06 pm EST