Instant analysis: GW's buzzer-beater downs Maryland

Instant analysis: GW's buzzer-beater downs Maryland
December 8, 2013, 6:45 pm
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Recap of George Washington's buzzer-beating 77-75 win over Maryland in the BB&T Classic...

How it happened: Maurice Creek scored 25 points and sank an 18-footer with 0.6 seconds left as George Washington held on for 77-75 over Maryland, capping a frenzied final finish between the local rivals at the Verizon Center on a wintry Sunday afternoon.

George Washington (8-1) used a slash-and-dish offense plus forward Isaiah Armwood's interior presence to lead 41-29 at halftime. Dez Wells led Maryland (5-4)with 16 points, but he fouled out with 5:17 remaining and his side trailing 68-54. Without their leading man, the Terps turned to relentless full court pressure and forced eight turnovers over the final 4:11.

Stats: For the Colonials, Armwood had 11 points and 12 rebounds; Joe McDonald 13 points, nine assists, eight rebounds and four steals; Kethan Savage had 14 points. For the Terps, Jake Layman scored 13 points, Evan Smotrycz and Roddy Peters each had 11.

Team stats: Maryland's slow start included 30 percent shooting ( 9 of 30) in the first half and just two assists before halftime. The Terps finished with only seven assists on 25 baskets while the Colonials had 19 on 24 made field goals.

They said it: " I called a timeout and Mo [Creek[ was like 'I want the ball' in a respectful way. ...I washoping [Creek] would take it to the rim because he's such a good free throw shooter. But when he crossed over and pulled up, I thought [Maryland's Nick Faust] might get a piec. Once he cleared the defender I thought it was going in." - George Washington coach Mike Lonergan on Creek's game-winner.

What it means: That while Georgetown supporters might say not so fast, George Washington can make a claim to being the area's best team. More tangibly, The Colonials won their fourth game over a power conference opponent, all within the last two weeks.

As for Maryland, what looked like a potential sleeper matchup before the season became a valuable résumé-building opportunity. Alas, the team didn't play like it until the frantic final minutes. There are non-conference games remaining, but none with any RPI help.

Creek: Those looking for a heart-warming tale should look no further the Colonials leading scorer. Injuries ravaged Creek's promising career at Indiana, leading to many surgeries, many missed games and a transfer to George Washington. Now healthy, the perimeter threat and D.C. are native is providing GW with the outside touch and backcourt experience it lacked last year. 

The said it: "We knew what they were going to do. I didn’t do a very good job. We should have ran at him and doubled him. I was trying to get Roddy [Peters] to go but he just doesn’t understand yet. I was trying to run off Savage and double [Creek]. I couldn’t get Roddy’s attention and Nick [Faust] slipped a little bit. I thought it was short when he shot it and it swished." - Maryland coach Mark Turgeon Creek's game-winning jumper over Faust.

Fast drivers: Whenever McDonald, Creek and Savage wanted to attack the middle of Maryland's defense, they did so without much resistance, at least until the final push. George Washington coach Mike Lonergan specifically targeted the 6-foot-4 Savage's matchup against Smotrycz. The Terp had a four-inch height advantage but the Colonial the clear speed edge.

Teed up: Faust fouled Creek with 7:49 remaining and Maryland trailing 62-52. Clearly, Turgeon didn't love the call seeing as his sharply-tongued ranting led to picking up his first technical foul of the season. The Colonials won the battle as Creek extended the lead to 14 by making the two technicals plus the two free throws, but the Terps nearly won the war. The technical sparked Maryland from its slumber and set the stage for the wild finish.

On point: Deemed a game-time decision after suffering a hip injury in Wednesday's win over Rutgers, McDonald did far more than simply play and start. His counterpart, Varun Ram, picked up two fouls 83 seconds into his first career start and finished as a mere footnote with three points.

Push: Maryland's side can ponder how the results might change if point guard Seth Allen (broken foot) were available. George Washington played without guard Patricio Garino, the team top on-ball defender and arguably the Colonials best all-around player.

History: The series is 5-5 between the teams in this event

Next up: The Terps open ACC play on Thursday at Boston College. The Colonials host Boston University on Wednesday at the Smith Center.