Creek carries GW past George Mason

Creek carries GW past George Mason
March 2, 2014, 2:30 pm
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(Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports)

Recap: George Washington dealt with some rough early waters against George Mason. In the second half, mostly smooth sailing thanks to Maurice Creek pouring in basket after basket and the Patriots shooters flailing away.

Creek scored 18 of his 22 after halftime including the Colonials first 11 after the break as George Washington returned to its winning ways at home with a 66-58 victory over the George Mason Patriots on Sunday afternoon.

Patricio Garino had 13 points before fouling out and Isaiah Armwood finished with 11 points and 14 rebounds for the Colonials (21-7, 9-5 Atlantic 10), who scored on their first five possessions of the second half. GW shot 42 percent (8 of 19) on 3-point attempts and its power inside led to a 19-8 edge in second chance points. Creek and Garino combined for 10 points during the decisive 15-2 as the Foggy Bottom crew took their largest lead at 57-43 with 3:38 remaining.

Sherrod Wright scored 16 points and Bryon Allen had 14 for the Patriots (10-18, 3-11). George Mason defeated Richmond on Tuesday, but have dropped three of four. The Patriots finished 3 of 16 from beyond the arc.

The Colonials, winners of both games over GMU this season, previously lost at No. 10 Saint Louis and dropped three of four games overall.

Feeling itCreek sank six of nine shots in the second half including three 3-pointers after missing six of seven attempts overall in the first half.  GW scored the final three points of the first half for a 26-24 lead and the graduate student quickly provided the needed working margin starting the second half. The Oxon Hill native sank his first long ball from the right wing, then moved into the left corner for the next 3-ball. On their next possession, Creek took a quick shot from the top of the key for his third consecutive 3-pointer.

After a George Mason basket, Creek scored again, this time off a well-timed putback. Kevin Larsen's dunk capped the 13-4 run for a 39-28 lead.

Chances: George Mason turned 16 GW turnovers into 20 points. Even with that early second half momentum shift, the Patriots fought back to 42-41 on Wright's jumper with 10 minutes remaining. Yet they could never hit the shot or make the play to truly swing the game their way. Mason's next basket came on Erik Copes' layup with 3:22 left. Overall the Patriots shot 38 percent from the field

Turning point: Garino's 3-pointer with 9:37 left started the 15-2 run, which Nemanja Mikic capped with his lone basket. 

Rather familiar: In their 75-69 win at George Mason on Jan. 25, the Colonials made seven of their first 10 shots in the second half and took control with an 8-0 run. 

Big picture: GW moved into tie with Massachusetts for fourth place in the A-10. The top four seeds receive a double-bye in the upcoming conference tournament in Brooklyn. The victory also improved the Colonials to 12-0 against teams outside the RPI top-100. 

[RELATED: VCU hands SLU 2nd straight loss]

1st half: Early on the Colonials looked like a team that last played on February 22. GW had more turnovers (8) than field goals (6) 12 minutes into the game. After an 8-0 spurt settled them down, GW closed the half with three free throws for a 26-24 halftime lead. George Mason went the other. The Patriots started rather efficiently with assists on each of their first five baskets. As GW rallied, GMU faltered, going nearly eight minutes without a field goal until Marko Gujanicic's layup with 5:46 left. 

Revolutionary Rivalry: In addition to sweeping their season series from GMU in the first season as conference rivals, GW improved to 10-0 all-time at home and 12-2 overall.

Odds and ends: Armwood sank a 3-pointer in the first half. The 6-foot-9 center entered the game 1 of 9 from beyond the arc. 

On deck: The Colonials wrap up their home slate against second place Saint Joseph's on Wednesday before heading to Fordham on Saturday for their regular season finale. The Patriots play at La Salle on Thursday before hosting Duquesne on Saturday.