WASHINGTON -- Early foul trouble put a limit on the type of show Maryland's Steve Francis is capable of putting on. Still the junior guard walked away with Most Valuable Player honors in the BB&T; Classic after scoring 14 points in last night's 92-75 win over DePaul.
Francis won the award largely on his career-high 24-point performance in Sunday's win over Stanford. He knows the honor last night could easily have gone to teammate Terence Morris, who scored 22 points on 10-for-11 shooting. The single-game field-goal percentage of 90.9 percent by Morris is a tournament record.
"They could have lifted their finger and pointed to anyone," Francis said when asked how it felt to be MVP. "It was great that our team came through -- that [MVP] is just an individual award."
Francis picked up three fouls in the first half, which limited his minutes. His fourth foul with 5: 25 left in the game came on what appeared to be a clean block on DePaul's Quentin Richardson.
He did admit that, after expending a great deal of energy in Sunday's game against Stanford, fatigue was a factor yesterday.
"It was because a few of the fouls I was reaching instead of playing defense with my feet," Francis said. "I was angry that I had to sit. But we had other guys that stepped up."
Joining Francis and Morris on the all-tournament team were Stanford forward Mark Madsen, DePaul's Richardson (28 points last night) and George Washington forward Yegor Mescheriakov.
Public schools of swish
DePaul's freshman class was rated among the best in the nation, and the three new recruits have made an immediate impact in the resurgence of the Blue Demons.
The three freshmen of note are forward Richardson, center Lance Williams (16 points), and forward Bobby Simmons (13).
The three, all products of Chicago public schools, are the top DePaul scorers. The last time DePaul started at least three Chicago public school graduates in the same season was 1981-82 (Terry Cummings, Skip Dillard and Bernard Randolph). That team finished 26-2.
Stanford fights off GW
After losing to Maryland on Sunday, it appeared Stanford suffered a bit of a letdown against George Washington. But the )) sixth-ranked Cardinal came away with a 70-56 win in the $H consolation game.
"Every game is going to be hard," said Stanford coach Mike Montgomery. "George Washington came out very aggressive. They weren't going to give us anything for free inside."
The result was a 35-15 advantage in free-throw attempts for Stanford, and early foul trouble for the George Washington front line. Still the Colonials (3-3) trailed by just four at the half, and were within 46-44 with 12: 49 left.
But Madsen, Stanford's junior forward, scored the final six points of a 16-6 run that gave the Cardinal a 61-50 lead and put the game away.
"They were bigger, stronger and deeper," said first-year George Washington coach Tom Penders. "Stanford's been there before. They know how to put away games, and they did."
Baltimore pair struggles
The BB&T; Classic proved to be tough going for George Washington's Baltimore backcourt of Shawnta Rogers and Mike King. The duo, products of Lake Clifton High School, shot a combined 9-for-29 (31.0 percent) yesterday and 18-for-62 (29.0 percent) for the tournament.
"It's early in the season," said Rogers, who had four threes yesterday. "We have a lot of games left."
Gary Williams' coaching record against DePaul's Pat Kennedy, the former coach of Florida State, is now 9-5. DePaul forward Laman Butler is a transfer from Loyola. The two-day attendance of 36,788 is a tournament record.
Pub Date: 12/08/98