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Updated: Sunday, December 5, 2004 8:49 PM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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Geo Washington 101, (12) Maryland 92

WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- Behind T.J Thompson, George Washington won the BB&T Classic for the third time and accomplished a school first along the way.

Thompson scored a season-high 27 points and matched his career high with five 3-pointers as George Washington downed No. 12 Maryland, 101-92.

The Colonials, who also won the tournament in 1995 and 1997, knocked off ranked opponents in back-to-back games for the first time in school history. George Washington beat Michigan State, 96-83, on Saturday and is poised to join the Top-25 next week.

"The measuring stick for this basketball team will be at the end of the day that Sunday (when the field of 64 is selected)" George Washington coach Karl Hobbs said. "If we're not in the room somewhere sitting around waiting for our name to be called, then anything less that that -- that's our goal, that's our focus. We took a step further to our goal. We took a step further to our dream. And that's what we're focusing on."

Thompson, who scored 18 points against the Spartans, was 10-for-15 from the floor and was just one point shy of his career high. He was named tournament MVP for his efforts.

J.R. Pinnock scored 22 points on 8-of-11 from the floor and Omar Williams added 14 and seven assists for the Colonials (5-1), who shot 53.6 (37-of-69) from the floor and made 10-of-14 from beyond the arc. George Washington shot 57 percent (36-of-63) against Michigan State.

The Colonials also did a great job against the Maryland fullcourt pressure.

"That (handling Maryland's pressure) was the key to the game," Hobbs said. "We felt that if we didn't turn the ball over we would have an opportunity to win the game, and all we wanted to do today was just have a chance to win the game.

"Maryland is probably the best team in the country at stealing the ball and then converting. They are terrific at doing that so we knew we had to play with some composure. T.J. (Thompson) and Carl Elliott just played a superb game, along with Omar Williams, in controlling tempo, particularly in the second half."

The win was even more impressive, considering that leading scorer Pops Mensah-Bonsu was held to six points on 2-of-8 shooting. The 6-9 junior was averaging 19.8 points on 73 percent shooting.

"When we opened the season, we went down to Wake Forest and lost that game," Thompson said. "But even though we lost we took it as a learning experience. We got under control and learned to play together. When the time comes, we band together and don't let nothing get in our way."

John Gilchrist had 23 points, five rebounds and five assists for Maryland, which hurt itself with poor 3-point and foul shooting and by turning the ball over 18 times. Gilchrist missed five of 11 free throws and committed five turnovers.

"We shot 50 percent from the field, which usually wins games, but if you look at the 3-point line, we were 6-of-23 and if you look at the foul line we were 14-of-28," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "We can't be a 3-point shooting team first, we have to go inside out with our offense. We haven't learned that yet and it hurt us in big games."

Trailing 74-65, Gilchrist scored 12 points in the final nine minutes to keep the Terrapins in the game. But when they cut the lead to 83-82 with 4:01 left, Williams knocked down a 3-pointer from the right side, and Maryland could not get any closer.

"I like the way we came out when we finally got it going in the second half and made a good run," Williams said. "We had a couple of good opportunities there to maybe take over the game but GW always seemed to come up with a big play, a big shot.

The Terrapins (4-2) used a 17-8 run and took a 58-57 lead with 14:15 left on freshman James Gist's dunk. Gist, who finished with 12 points on 6-of-7 shooting, had six points and Nik Caner-Medley scored five during the run.

The Colonials answered back and broke the Terrapins' full court press for a 17-7 run sparked by two 3-pointers and a layup by Thompson.

Caner-Medley had 16 points and seven rebounds but missed 10 of his 15 shots for Maryland, which had 18 offensive rebounds and outrebounded George Washington by a 42-36 margin.

Thompson scored 13 points and hit three 3-pointers in the first half as George Washington shot 60.6 (20-of-33) percent and hit 6-of-9 from beyond the arc to take a 49-41 lead. Maryland had held George Mason to just 15 percent shooting in the first half to build a 38-15 lead in the semifinal game Saturday.


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