TUCSON, Ariz. -- George Washington University not only has Patrick Ewing's high school coach, it has someone with Ewing's jersey size. Freshman Yinka Dare is 7 feet 1, now weighs 265 pounds thanks to fast food and owns an advanced turnaround jump shot.
If it were not for him, George Washington would not have been confused with Georgetown yesterday.
But, because Dare is in Tucson instead of in Nigeria, the 12th-seeded Colonials (20-8) are the premier team in Washington after beating fifth-seeded New Mexico in the West Regional, 82-68. Dare got a big assist from Kwame Evans, a 6-6 freshman guard from Baltimore's Southern High who made all five of his three-point shots and scored 19 points.
By all indications from the tournament committee, GW was the 62nd team invited to the 64-team field. Dare (pronounced Dah-ray) may have heaved an air ball on a free throw, but he also converted seven of 13 field-goal attempts and finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds. He was stoic after the Colonials had advanced to the second round.
"I am just not one to show my emotion," Dare said. "A lot of people take this to mean I am not happy. I am happy."
It was George Washington's first NCAA tournament game since 1961. GW's next opponent will be 13th-seeded Southern University, which upset Georgia Tech, 93-78.
George Washington completed an Atlantic 10 first-round sweep, joining Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Temple in the round of 32. GW coach Mike Jarvis is the former coach of Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School in Massachusetts -- where Ewing attended prep school.
Yesterday, Dare's inside game was complemented by Evans' three-pointers. And the Colonials were helped by the fact that New Mexico (24-7) had two players sick and another suspended for undisclosed disciplinary reasons.
Lobos coach Dave Bliss said guard Steve Logan and forward Khari Jaxon were ill with what was believed to be food poisoning, although both played. Another guard, Corey Jenkins, violated team policy, and his absence gave New Mexico limited depth.
The Lobos, the second-place team in the Western Athletic Conference, trailed, 51-39, early in the second half, but sliced the lead to 51-49 behind Logan (16 points). Just when Washington should have had sweaty palms, Evans sank a 23-foot three-pointer. The Colonials were not threatened again.
"That's what I normally try to do," Evans said. "Just spot up for the three."
"They call Kwame 'Ice Man,' " Jarvis said.