Maurice Creek's second half explosion lifted George Washington to road win as Colonials leave Draddy Gym with 80-74 upset of Manhattan. (Photo courtesy of George Washington University)
Many times over the last two decades, a game almost always ended with a man named Mo slamming the door on his opponent.
Therefore, it stands to reason that the same thing would happen at Draddy Gym tonight; only this time, the Mo that sealed the final outcome was a gifted shooter who, much like Mariano Rivera, hit his best stride in the latter moments.
Scoring 24 of his 27 points in the second half, senior guard Maurice Creek made five three-pointers and attacked the basket seemingly at will after the intermission, leading George Washington's escape from Riverdale with an 80-74 victory over a valiant, but vanquished, Manhattan in a battle of two 2-0 teams.
"Coach (Mike Lonergan) called all the right plays for me," said Creek, who played for Tom Crean at Indiana before joining the Colonials as a graduate transfer this past offseason. "He put me in the right spots to score the basketball."
Isaiah Armwood added 20 points and eight rebounds for George Washington, who also got a double-double from 6-10 forward Kevin Larsen, whose 12-point, 10-rebound outing helped gain a 43-30 rebounding edge against Manhattan, who was unable to find a second scoring option to supplement George Beamon's 34-point tour de force effort.
"We got beat on the backboard by thirteen and allowed a team to shoot 47 percent against us," a visibly agitated Steve Masiello said after his Jasper team could not match George Washington's intensity on the glass. "That's not who Manhattan is. We're a defensive rebounding team, and we just didn't get that done."
To their credit, the Jaspers did have numerous chances to pull out the victory, keeping the outcome in doubt until the final minute, when Manhattan was unable to get a stop as Kethan Savage recovered the ball just over the free throw line and banked in a jumper that gave George Washington a 76-72 lead with 26 seconds remaining. On the ensuing possession, Emmy Andujar's missed layup was blocked by Armwood to seal the win for the visitors, who improve to 3-0 as they prepare to face Delaware State next.
"We're very happy to leave here with a win," Mike Lonergan said after the game, "especially after getting off to a slow start. We had to play a 1-3-1 just to get back in the game and take the ball out of his hands," referring to Beamon, who was held to just one point during a 16-4 Colonials run that saw Creek and Armwood score all but two of George Washington's points during that spurt, which stretched over four minutes and 36 seconds.
Following the loss, Manhattan now braces themselves for a road trip to Illinois State, who is rebuilding in the Missouri Valley Conference after losing each of their five leading scorers from last season, including the dynamic scoring duo of Tyler Brown and Jackie Carmichael.
"We can't dwell on this loss," George Beamon reminded the media in Manhattan's postgame press conference. "Any night could be anybody's night. We've got to be ready for the next game."