WASHINGTON (AP) -- When Gary Williams demanded an emotional
performance to end a rare losing streak, Steve Blake and Drew
Blake had career-highs of 27 points and five 3-pointers, and
Nicholas added 27 points to lead Maryland (No. 8 ESPN/USA Today, No. 9 AP) to a 93-82 victory over George Washington on Sunday in the third-place game of the
Blake didn't score until he converted his first 3-pointer with
9:29 left in the first half and the Colonials ahead 31-24. That
started a streak of 10 straight points by the senior guard.
''We were struggling a little bit and I wanted to get things
going,'' Blake said. ''I told myself there was no way we were going
to lose this game. I wanted to make things happen.''
The Terrapins (4-2), who were only 4-for-17 on 3-point attempts
in an upset loss to Notre Dame on Saturday, were 12-of-17 from
beyond the arc against the Colonials (3-3).
''Against Notre Dame, none of us looked like we wanted to play
basketball,'' Nicholas said. ''I think we showed we do today.''
Nicholas tied a career-best with five 3s as the defending
national champions averted their first three-game losing streak
since February 2001.
Chris Monroe led George Washington with 19 points.
Maryland, which shot only 37 percent from the field in the
opening-round loss to the Fighting Irish, seemed unprepared for
George Washington's effective up-tempo attack.
''We didn't press,'' Gary Williams said. ''We just tried to get
back down the court before they did. We were able to shorten the
court a little bit.''
George Washington coach Karl Hobbs' strategy of utilizing the
transition game hit a roadblock when the Terrapins starting making
shots and grabbing rebounds for second-chance baskets. In the
middle of the Maryland comeback were Blake and Nicholas.
''They played like a team committed to win today,'' Hobbs said.
''Blake and Nicholas played like seniors are supposed to play. They
played like guys who have won a national championship. They played
well when they found themselves in a little bit of a hole.''
The Colonials used runs of 14-5 and 10-2 to take a 29-17 lead
with 11:12 left in the half. But after Monroe's two free throws
gave GW a 31-19 lead with 10:23 to go, Blake rallied the Terrapins.
Scoreless until that point, Blake had the final 10 points of a
12-0 Maryland run that tied the game at 31. After Thompson's
four-point play put the Colonials up 35-31, the Terrapins closed
the half by outscoring GW 17-8 as Nicholas, who had 20 first-half
points, knocked down three 3-pointers.
Blake's driving layup with 3:37 left in the half gave Maryland
the lead for good at 38-37.
The Terrapins led by as many as 21 points on Travis Garrison's
jumper midway through the second half. GW used a 3-pointer by
Monroe and a nice followup by Williams to close within 86-77 with
''I didn't know how we'd come out today, to be honest,'' Gary
Williams said. ''I told the players before the game that I've never
known a great basketball player that didn't show emotion on the
court. ... I was very disappointed with our emotional level
yesterday. Our teams are usually more emotional.''
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