DAYTON, Ohio, Jan. 31 – Two years ago, a miracle shot at the buzzer from Carl Elliott forced Karl Hobbs off the court at the University of Dayton Arena with tears of joy in his eyes.
Wednesday night, two technical fouls sent Hobbs to the locker room dragging his khaki-colored suit jacket on the ground and hurling obscenities at a referee as his GW men’s basketball team snapped a five-game winning streak with an 84-69 loss here in Ohio.
With 1:31 remaining, Hobbs charged onto the court and found himself inches away from a referee’s face near the baseline. After receiving his first technical foul, Hobbs kept screaming, bending himself around a human shield of assistant coach Roland Houston and received his second technical foul after Roberts sunk the first of four free throws. He was subsequently ejected from the game.
The two technical fouls gave the Flyers possession on top of the free throws. With 1:26 left in a critical Atlantic 10 game, the Colonials were down 12 points with its head coach in the locker room and any chance to win the game by the wayside.
Hobbs’ technical fouls, his first of the season, turned a six-point deficit with more than a minute remaining into a 10-point hole, an insurmountable deficit with 11,622 earsplitting fans making their excitement very apparent.
The Colonials (15-5, 6-2 A-10) do not return to Foggy Bottom before its game against St. Louis Saturday. Hobbs was asked how his team would shape up before playing the Billikens in Missouri.
“I think number one we aren’t going to panic because we don’t do that,” Hobbs said.
But against the Flyers (14-7, 4-4 A-10), Hobbs did panic, and it might have cost his team the game. Hobbs, who is known for his animated courtside behavior, had a different explanation for the loss.
“We just lost to a better basketball team,” Hobbs said. “There was a reason why we were picked to finish fifth in this league and I thought tonight showed it.”
“If my memory serves me correctly, they have 14 wins, 13 of them are in this building,” Hobbs said. “Tonight they played in this building and that was the difference.”
Also in the building tonight was Jonathan LeCrone, the commissioner of the Horizon League and a member of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament selection committee. He was sitting on the scorers’ table, not far from Hobbs’ late game outbreak.
For most of the game, the Colonials were right in it. They led by as many as three points with 9:29 left in the game and looked like they could end Dayton’s 13-game home streak.
There were only two players in double figures for GW, a rarity for the team. Junior Maureece Rice had 19 points and five assists and sophomore Rob Diggs had 14 points and seven rebounds for GW.
“I thought he came out very well, in terms of his offense,” Hobbs said of Diggs. “I didn’t think his defense was really good. I thought his offensive rebounding wasn’t what it needed to be tonight and I thought that was part of the difference in the game.”
Elliott, a legend in this building, was 6-for-16 from the floor for eight points. He dished out 11 rebounds and turned the ball over three times.
Turnovers were an issue for the Colonials tonight. They gave the ball up 10 times, nine in the first half.
“We weren’t as focused as we needed to be to play a game on the road,” Hobbs said. “I thought our focus was the worst it’s been in a long time and that’s what was very disappointing to me as a coach tonight.”
But Dayton played well, connecting on 56 percent of its shots from the floor behind a game-high 23 points from Brian Roberts. Andres Sandoval had 21 points, including 15 in the second half. London Warren and Monty Scott had 10 a piece.
“I thought it was a terrific basketball game, I really did,” Hobbs said. “Other than a coach getting a little bit out of control and kind of ruining the moment for a second, but that’s an adjustment I have to make within myself.”
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