WASHINGTON -- A day after Maryland disposed of one of the nation's premier programs, the Terps were unable to care of business inside the Beltway.
George Washington rode the play of Shawnta Rogers, its 5-foot-4 point guard out of Baltimore's Lake Clifton High, to a 70-66 victory over the Terps last night in the championship game of the Franklin National Bank Classic at the MCI Center.
Rogers, named the MVP of the Classic, scored 20 of his game-high 23 points in the first half and was at the core of the game's pivotal play with 1: 23 left, when he got a steal and two possessions for the Colonials (7-2).
"Shawnta Rogers killed us," Maryland center Obinna Ekezie said. "He broke our press all by himself."
Sunday's semifinal win over then-No. 2 Kansas elevated Maryland (4-3) to No. 19 when the Associated Press updated its Top 25 yesterday. As energized as the Terps were in that victory, they were lethargic at times last night. Mike Jarvis used 11 players to Gary Williams' eight, and if the Terps weren't worn down physically, they were mentally.
Just as it did against Kansas, Maryland struggled offensively down the stretch. Sarunas Jasikevicius knocked in a three-pointer from the right wing with 3: 32 left that gave the Terps a 62-61 lead, but they didn't score again until eight seconds remained, and then on a pair of free throws by Terrell Stokes.
By that time, the Colonials had completed a decisive 8-0 run.
Alexander Koul hit a bank shot going to his left to put GW on top 63-62 with 2: 07 left, and the game turned for good on Maryland's ensuing possession. Forward Rodney Elliott, who had spent 10 minutes of the second half on the bench with his fourth foul, was stripped by Rogers in the lane, and Elliott then grabbed the shirt of his old east-side rival.
An intentional foul was called with 1: 23 left, disqualifying Elliott for the fifth time this season and giving the Colonials possession after Rogers had hit the second of two free throws. With five seconds left on the shot clock, GW got a huge three-pointer from junior guard Seco Camara, who added three free throws in the final minute.
"Rodney Elliott is a good player and a friend," Rogers said. "This one's all about bragging rights when we go home."
Maryland's only basket in the last three minutes was a conceded layup by Laron Profit.
A year ago today, Maryland took the Classic's championship game by six over George Washington on the basis of a 33-14 bulge at the free-throw line. The Terps' last eight points against Kansas came on free throws, but they didn't get in the bonus situation in the second half last night until Stokes got to the line with eight seconds left.
"We had no execution whatsoever out there and we paid the price," Jasikevicius said. "It was a mental breakdown. Coach [Williams] emphasizes an inside-out offense. We just don't do it. Until we do, we're going to lose games like this"
Maryland's first-half struggles in the half court were gone after the break, when it came out scoring both inside and out. Elliott's tap-in of a Profit miss completed a 14-4 run that gave the Terps a 51-45 lead, which they were unable to build on.
There was a chance to get the lead up to eight points, but Elliott was called for his fourth foul at the offensive end. On the Terps' next possession, Ekezie charged, and then Jasikevicius forced a jumper on a break that consisted of him against the Colonials.
Maryland got 15 points from Profit.
GW took a 39-37 halftime lead thanks to the guidance of Rogers. He scored the Colonials last nine points of the half on a three-pointer, a pull-up jumper over Stokes and four free throws. Stokes had 16 points in the first half.
The Terps forced 16 first-half turnovers against Kansas on Sunday, but GW has a simple, effective press offense in Rogers. More than once in the first half he dribbled past Maryland's press to get the Colonials an easy basket in the first half. That's what Rogers did with 14: 30 left in the first half, when he went coast to coast to break a 14-14 tie.
Profit answered with a steal and a dunk, but Maryland coach Gary Williams sensed something amiss a few seconds later, when he told his bench "We're not mentally prepared to play."
GW prospered even without Rogers, as Camara hit a three and Koul got position inside for a 21-16 lead. The Terps buckled down and went ahead 30-27 on a three by Stokes and another turnover-fueled basket by Profit.
Pressure was again Maryland's most effective option. The Terps' half-court offense did not produce a single basket in the last six minutes of the half, and only two over the last 10 minutes. Jasikevicius converted a turnover for a 35-33 lead, but then Rogers personally picked up the Colonials.
Maryland plays another nonconference game Saturday (7: 30), when the Terps take on UMBC.
Pub Date: 12/09/97