The George Washington Colonials earned a win in the third-place game at the Wooden Legacy by taking advantage of some bad offense by the Creighton Bluejays and a questionable offensive foul call in the last 30 seconds, eventually walking away with a 60-53 win. Doug McDermott was held to just seven points on 2-for-12 shooting on the day and if not for some late jumpers by Ethan Wragge, the Bluejays may have fallen much sooner.
Wragge led the way for Creighton with 16 points, including back-to-back three pointers that gave his team a lead each time. Grant Gibbs supported him with 12 points, including a pair of big dunks that sandwiched Wragge's bombs, but McDermott's absence was evident not just on the scoreboard, but in Creighton's decision making.
With George Washingon leading 54-53 with 45 seconds left, the Bluejays were able to get off two shots in 23 seconds and neither of them were taken by last season's All-American forward. Instead, the first was taken by Gibbs and was blocked by Isaiah Armwood (12 points, 4 rebounds, 4 blocks). The second, which came following an Austin Chatman offensive rebound, was taken by Chatman without McDermott being shown the basketball.
After the ball moved around the perimeter for a few seconds, Chatman drove to the rim and seemed to have a good look at the hoop, but the ball never got to the rim as it was stolen away by Maurice Creek. Creek then made two free throws and extended the Colonials lead to three at 56-53.
This is typically where I tell you that GW didn't foul and Creighton made them pay, but before we could even get that far Devin Brooks was whistled for an offensive foul on the inbounds, giving GW another two free throws -- which Kethan Savage made -- with 14 seconds left in the game.
There was definitely a foul on the play, Brooks and Savage were all tied up in each others arms, but whether or not it was on Brooks is where things get a little grey. Brooks did some hooking, Savage did some pulling, both of them were guilty and when in doubt the referee will tend to err on the side of who is gaining the advantage and, in this case, it seemed to be Brooks. Whatever their reasoning was, the referees took what could have been a great ending away from us and that is simply too bad.
Mike Lonergan's Colonials did a great job of earning a top-25 win, and that is something that shouldn't be overshadowed by how this game ended. George Washington led for the first 34:34 of the game, had four players score in double figures, and made all the plays it needed to make down the stretch to keep Creighton from gaining enough momentum to overtake them late in the game.
The Atlantic 10 promises to be a very competitive league in 2013-14 and the Colonials officially threw their hat in the ring on Sunday.