Maryland reclaims title as BB&T champions

Maryland recaptured the title as the D.C. area’s basketball champions after the Terrapins defeated GW 71-63 in Sunday’s BB&T Classic title game at the MCI Center. The Terrapins victory denied GW its third-straight win over Maryland and the Colonials’ third Classic championship in four seasons. GW (5-2) earned its chance to repeat as champions Saturday afternoon when the Colonials won an inspired 85-75 contest over former head coach Mike Jarvis and No. 19 St. John’s University. GW’s SirValiant Brown scored a game-high 32 points Saturday afternoon and managed 18 tough points amidst an unfriendly Maryland crowd Sunday to repeat as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Brown’s 50 points over the two-day Classic left the GW guard one point shy of Keith Booth’s (51) 1996 two-day scoring record. In Sunday’s consolation game, St John’s beat the University of Michigan 97-83.

Maryland 71, GW 63
Sunday, Dec. 3

The GW-Maryland rivalry continued Sunday in the BB&T final as the Colonials and Terrapins battled back and forth to stake their claim as the area’s best team. When the game ended, the sea of Maryland red created by a Maryland-dominated crowd of 16,826 erupted in cheers of victory as their Terrapins (3-3) held off a feisty GW team 71-63. The victory gave Maryland its second title in the last three years and its first victory over the Colonials since 1996.

GW trailed throughout the first half, but managed to keep the score close. When it looked like Maryland would make a first-half run to break away from GW, the Colonials fought back and trailed just 40-34 at halftime. Jaason Smith led a key 10-0 run to close a 35-24 deficit to just one point. Perfect free-throw shooting that saw the Colonials make all 15 of their first-half attempts (21-for-21 overall) helped keep the score close.

Despite making just nine field goals in the first half, the Colonials ran with Maryland in the second half and took their first lead of the game at 49-47 when Chris Monroe hit a pair of free-throws with 11:39 remaining. After trading leads back and forth over the next few minutes, the Terrapins went up 59-53 off a 6-0 run with eight minutes remaining that included a slam-dunk by Lonny Baxter (13 points) and a jump shot by Drew Nicholas (10 points). The closest the Colonials came after that was 64-61 with just under two minutes to play after SirValiant Brown scored four unanswered points.

GW’s Smith kept the Colonials close in the first half with 12 points, but an ill-advised three-point attempt that hit off the rim with the Colonials down 68-63 with under a minute to play hurt the team’s chances. In the final 30 seconds, GW could not force a turnover and did a poor job of fouling Maryland. When the Colonials did get a hold of Baxter with 17 seconds left, GW was called for an intentional foul, allowing the final seconds of a thrilling game to wind down.

Monroe was nowhere to be found in the game, scoring just four points (1-of-6) in just 21 minutes. Brown’s 18 points in the game came on a 7-of-16 shooting performance.

GW 85, St. John’s 75
Saturday, Dec. 2

The match-up between GW and St. John’s in Saturday’s BB&T first-round was not just another game. It was the long-awaited showdown between the former team and the man who made it a nationally respected NCAA Division I-caliber program. And when it was all said and done, in a game that saw Val Brown get chea-shoted twice only to rise up and score a game-high 32 points breaking a tournament record, the Colonials defeated coach Mike Jarvis and the Red Storm 85-75.

I want to complement and congratulate the victors, the George Washington University, Jarvis said.

The Colonials never trailed in the game and found themselves up by as much as 16 points in the first half. Brown (11 points), Chris Monroe (13) and Mike King (10) each scored in double-digits in the first half. The team shot 5-of-12 from behind the arc and 6-for-7 from the foul line in the half, while the Red Storm (4-2) shot a dismal 2-of-11 from three-point range without a free-throw attempt. In the game, the Colonials out-scored the Red Storm 26-8 from the line.

But the intensity picked up considerably in a violent second half that started during halftime when both teams exchanged words outside the locker rooms.

There were some things going on there when I think they just tried to intimidate our kids and it just didn’t work, Penders said. That’s not going to work with Chris Monroe and Val Brown. These kids are from here. Just like New York City kids, they’re not going to back down.

After hitting a leaning lay-up that gave the Colonials a 53-42 advantage with 12 minutes to play, Brown got tangled up with St John’s forward Mohamed Diakite, who proceeded to knock Brown to the floor. An intentional foul was called on Diakite.

He jumped on my back. I was just trying to get him off of me, Brown said. And when I got him off me, he’s throwing some punches I was like, `Ref, he’s hitting me on the head with a punch.’

The more severe incident came about a minute later when, in the midst of a GW huddle underneath the basket, Red Storm forward Reggie Jessie punched Brown in the groin area sending Brown to the floor in obvious pain. The crowd sent a chorus of boos in Jessie’s direction after watching the replay on the jumbo monitor above the court.

He was taking the ball down and he bumped me, Brown said. I said something to him. Next thing I knew he punched me in the groin. I was in pain. That’s the only thing I remember.

No foul was called even after Penders and Jarvis met with the officials to watch a video replay. The officials said they did not see contact during the actual play.

What goes up must come down, Jarvis said about the incident. I learned that a long time ago in class. I mean the arm has to come down. I didn’t see anything. And when we went over to watch the replay, the referees didn’t see anything either. That’s why nothing was called.

Jessie said he did not intentionally hit Brown.

I don’t really know what happened, Jessie said. He was behind me, I was trying to get my teammates hyped and he was on the floor, so I don’t know.

It wasn’t too long after that when St. John’s Omar Cook fell to the floor holding his groin area, but there was no foul called and it was unclear how Cook got hit. Cook scored a team-high 21 points for the Red Storm, including 18 in the second half to keep St. John’s close.

After the Red Storm cut the GW lead to 64-56 with six minutes left, Brown and Bernard Barrow hit three-pointers in a 9-0 Colonials run that made the lead unreachable.

If there’s a game that they’re going to want to win more than any other game, I guarantee you it’s this game, Jarvis said. There’s nobody you want to beat more than your old coach.

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