Last night, I headed to the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Washington to watch the George Washington Colonials take on the Charlotte 49ers. Upon entering the Charles E. Smith Center, I was blown away by how modern the arena was (the result of changes that John noted in his visit there earlier this year). There were brand new scoreboards both in center-court, and on both end zones. There were also player introduction videos that were something I'd expect to see at an NBA game, but not at a mid-major college game. Despite these additions to the atmosphere, the arena itself was small, only seating 5,000 people, making for a small, intimate environment. With classes back in session, there was a good crowd of students there, along with a large pep band (taking up one of the sections in the upper deck), and the cheerleaders and dance team (appropriately named the "First Ladies").
The game itself started off slowly for the home team. Fueled by three baskets from Derrio Green, including a #superhoop, the 49ers got out to an early 19-7 lead midway through the first half. It looked at that point like the 49ers were in the driver's seat, and frustration began to ring from many of the 2,813 that were in attendance. However, that frustration seemed to be just what the Colonials needed, as they closed out the half on a 15-6 run to close their deficit down to three at the half, 25-22.
It was military night at the Charles E. Smith Center, and in honor of that the university invited the United States Air Force Honor Guard perform at halftime. I have mixed reviews about some halftime entertainment, but this was simply amazing to see, as the guard was spinning fully functional rifles mere inches from their bodies at speeds up to 40 mph. My favorite part was when one of the members of the guard walked up and down the row of spinning rifles without getting hit. It was a very fitting show given the theme of the evening.
The Colonials continued their surge in the second half, going on a 6-0 run to take a 28-25 lead. Their lead reached as high as six until the 49ers stormed back to tie the game at 45. However, that would be as close as the 49ers would get the rest of the way. A #superhoop by Nemanja Mikic gave George Washington a six point lead in the game's final minute. A 49er turnover by Chris Braswell on the next possession seemed to ice the victory for the Colonials, especially after Bryan Bynes made two free-throws after the 49ers fouled. However, the 49ers continued to foul even after the game was put away. I have no problem with teams fouling to try to get back in the game, but fouling when you are down seven with three seconds left is a little much for me. The final was an eight point victory for the home team, 60-52. Mickic led the Colonials with 19 points in the victory. Braswell led the 49ers with 17 despite the loss. Overall, it was a great night of basketball in a wonderful facility.
at GEORGE WASHINGTON 60, CHARLOTTE 52 01/21/2012
CHARLOTTE 10-8 (2-3) -- C. Braswell 8-14 1-2 17; J. Barnett 2-11 0-2 5; D. Mayfield 2-7 0-0 4; J. Briscoe 6-12 0-0 14; P. Henry 1-4 0-0 2; D. Green 1-6 2-2 5; E. Nickerson 0-1 1-3 1; T. Williams 2-4 0-0 4; K. Sherrill 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 22-60 4-9 52. GEORGE WASHINGTON 8-11 (3-2) -- L. Kromah 4-8 1-6 9; N. Mikic 7-11 2-4 19; T. Taylor 2-6 4-7 8; D. Pellom 1-5 1-2 3; B. Bynes 1-3 5-7 8; D. Smith 3-6 0-2 6; A. Ware 0-6 4-4 4; J. Edwards 0-2 0-0 0; J. Kopriva 1-1 0-0 2; M. Conward 0-0 0-0 0; J. Davis 0-0 0-0 0; R. Ghantous 0-0 0-0 0; D. Guest 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 19-48 18-34 60.
Three-point goals: CHAR 4-18 (J. Barnett 1-6; D. Green 1-3; C. Braswell 0-1; D. Mayfield 0-1; J. Briscoe 2-5; T. Williams 0-1; P. Henry 0-1), GW 4-10 (T. Taylor 0-2; A. Ware 0-1; B. Bynes 1-1; L. Kromah 0-1; N. Mikic 3-5); Rebounds: CHAR 33 (C. Braswell 13), GW 41 (A. Ware 10); Assists: CHAR 11 (J. Barnett 4), GW 13 (T. Taylor 5); Total Fouls -- CHAR 25, GW 16; Fouled Out: CHAR-P. Henry; GW-None.