The Colonials cut a 17-point second half deficit to one, but were never able to take the lead in a 91-84 loss at UMass last night. This wasn't one I expected them to win, and they showed strong resolve in making several runs at the Minutemen down the stretch. The hosts's interior tandem of Stephane Lasme (23 points, 13 rebounds, 11 blocks) and Rashaun Freeman (21, 7) dominated, but it was the unexpected outside prowess of Etienne Brower that opened up the paint for the big guys. Brower, who missed the first seven games of the season with an ankle injury, knocked down two treys in the first six minutes last night. On the plus side, Carl Elliott (19 points, 6 rebounds) and Maureece Rice (30, 7) made lots of clutch shots to keep it close, and GW got good minutes from Cheyenne Moore and Damian Hollis. As I have been saying for a while, check back with me at the end of the month for a more in-depth evaluation of this team.
As I have also been saying for a while, after ripping through the bottom quartile of the RPI recently, Maryland stumbled badly at home last night against Miami. Unlike Iona, Miami has actually won a game this season. Unlike Mount Saint Mary's, Miami decided to play defense against Mike Jones. And unlike Siena, Miami has players who are just as big, quick and skilled as Maryland's. Still, this is not the end of the world for the Terps. In fact, Gary Williams will use this loss to great effect in motivating his team, especially his young guards. But no amount of coaching is going to add bulk to Ekene Ibekwe and James Gist or quickness to Will Bowers. Could be ugly when Tyler Hansbrough gets ahold of these guys. Fortunately, the Terps match up much better with Clemson, who comes to town this weekend. Look for Maryland to catch the Tigers looking ahead to UNC and pull the upset to beat Duke out of the ACC cellar.
Some stat maven is going to have to look up the last time Washington won when Gibert Arenas scored only 21 points, but balanced scoring effort put the Wiz over the Bulls 113-103 at Verizon Center last night. Caron Butler continued his hot streak with a team-high 26 points and Antonio Daniels had his highest scoring total of the year with 15 off the bench. In a game that pitted one of the league's highest scoring offense against one of its stingiest defenses, the Wiz won out, bouncing back nicely from Sunday's loss to the Raptors. Over at Hoops Addict, Ryan thinks that Marty Burns ranked Washington too high at #3 (I disagree) and loves that Slam Online posted Carmelo Anthony's iPod playlist (I am befuddled).
If you're lucky, I'll have a full recap of tonight's George Mason vs. Towson game. How could you want anything more than an up-close look at two teams battling it out for for sixth place in a midmajor college basketball conference?