CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Maureece Rice and George
Washington (No. 18 ESPN/USA Today; No. 16 AP) are approaching school history.
Rice came off the bench to score a career-high 21 points and the
Colonials beat Charlotte 83-69 on Saturday to move into a tie for
the second best start in school history. Rice connected on 6-of-8
from the field and Danilo Pinnock added 13 points for George
Washington (14-1, 4-0 Atlantic 10).
The win tied the team record to open the 1936-37 season. The
all-time best came in 1953-54, when George Washington began that
season 19-1. The Colonials also kept their place atop the
Not that they're counting.
"We're not going to pay attention to what our record is or
anything like that," George Washington coach Karl Hobbs said.
"But what we are going to be paying attention to, are we playing
good fundamental basketball and are we getting better each game."
The Colonials are tied with Xavier for the Atlantic 10 lead and
will face the Musketeers on Feb. 2 in Cincinnati.
The previous high for Rice was 19 earlier this season.
"The young guy is just stepping up," Hobbs said. "Whenever we
need a big play or big score, he stepped up and made the play. But
more importantly, he made great decisions with the basketball and I
thought that was the difference. We kind of expect him to score.
That's kind of what his trick is, and I thought he made great
decisions with the ball."
De'Angelo Alexander led the 49ers (11-7, 4-2) with 23 points,
but Charlotte fell to 4-5 on its home court this season. That's the
most losses in a season at Halton Arena since it opened in 1996.
Forward Curtis Withers, who came into the game averaging a
double-double, had 15 rebounds but was held to nine points on
2-of-9 shooting from the field for Charlotte. Withers also
committed six turnovers.
Hobbs credited the team's defense.
"I thought our defense was pretty consistent," Hobbs said.
"We wanted to keep changing our defense and going between our
zones and switching back to man. We wanted to keep them off balance
and we didn't want Withers to get comfortable with our defenses
that we were trying to throw at him."
George Washington pulled ahead to a 14-point lead with 12:54 to
go in the second half when Pinnock drew a foul and Charlotte coach
Bobby Lutz was given a technical for arguing with the officials.
Rice hit both free throws on the technical, and Pinnock added two
more free throws to push the lead to 58-44.
Lutz wouldn't comment about the technical.
"We didn't play at the level you have to play to beat a team
like this or Xavier," said Lutz, whose 49ers lost to Xavier on
Jan. 14. "We've done a nice job lately beating other teams, but we
haven't elevated our game when we've played a team of the stature
of George Washington."