Colonials fall short against Tech in final minutes

The law of averages says a basketball team is not likely to pull out two come-from-behind last-second victories in a single week.

So after a last-second shot gave the Colonials a win at La Salle Wednesday night, it was not surprising GW couldn’t pull off a dramatic win against Virginia Tech, falling 77-75 at Cassell Coliseum Saturday.

The loss snapped the Colonials’ five-game winning streak. But it was only the second loss in the last 12 games for GW (14-6, 8-2 Atlantic 10), which remained tied with Xavier for the lead in the A-10’s West Division thanks to La Salle’s 88-75 defeat of the Musketeers Saturday.

Virginia Tech led by as many as 15 points in the first half and took a 38-26 lead into halftime, but the Colonials came back to make the game close behind Shawnta Rogers’ 29-point second-half explosion.

“We knew it was coming . but we hit some big shots to counter theirs,” Tech forward Rolan Roberts said.

With Virginia Tech leading 73-72 and 20 seconds left in the game, the Hokies’ Brendan Dunlop made the first of two free throws but missed the second. In the scramble for the loose ball Yegor Mescheriakov and Hokie guard Eddie Lucas both hit the ball out of bounds. The referee in front of the play signaled that GW would get possession, but a few seconds later overruled his own call and awarded Virginia Tech the ball.

The Hokies’ Roberts was then fouled and made two free throws to give Tech a 76-72 lead. But GW came down quickly, and a double-teamed Rogers passed to an open Patrick Ngongba, who nailed a three-pointer from the top of the key. GW then fouled Lucas, who made the first of two free throws for a 77-75 lead.

GW came back down the floor with 7.1 seconds remaining with a chance to win or tie. But senior Seco Camara missed an open three-point shot from the left corner as time expired.

“Seco had a great look at it,” GW head coach Tom Penders said. “They left Camara open and he’s capable of hitting 20 threes in a row.”

Virginia Tech (9-11, 4-6 A-10) dominated play in the first half behind Lucas, who sunk four three-pointers during a Hokie run that gave them a 31-16 lead.

But after Rogers scored just two points in the first 20 minutes, he lit up Tech in the second half, hitting his sixth three-pointer of the game and the half to pull the Colonials within three at 55-52.

“In the first half, I wasn’t really looking for my shot, I was looking to

run the team,” Rogers said. “In the second half, coach told me to take some more shots.”

Rogers hit a short jumper to narrow the lead to one before a two-handed stuff by freshman center Albert Roma on an offensive rebound gave GW a 56-55 advantage. Several lead changes and ties occurred until a free throw by Dennis Mims gave Tech the lead for good at 68-67.

“I’m proud of the kids for how hard they played and scratching back

into it,” Penders said.

GW historically has problems on the road against Virginia Tech. Although the Colonials won at Cassell Coliseum last season, they lost their 18 previous meetings to the Hokies on the road, a streak that dated back to the 1958-’59 season.

GW returns to the Smith Center at 7:30 p.m. Friday to face St. Joseph’s.

-Marc Birnbaum contributed to this report.

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