Marcus Johnson and the Flyers move on to play Xavier in the A-10 Quarterfinals
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DAYTON, Ohio — Marcus Johnson scored 16 points and Dayton used a late 15-2 run to defeat George Washington 70-60 Tuesday night in the First Round of the Atlantic 10 Conference Men's Basketball Championship.
Dayton (20-11) led 44-33 in the second half, but the Colonials (16-14) chipped away at the lead and tied the game at 55 on Damian Hollis' jumper with 5:58 left.
The Flyers responded by going 8-for-10 from the line, fueling the spurt that included 6-0 and 9-0 runs to close the game. Kurt Huelsman was 6-for-8 at the line in the final seven minutes.
Chris Johnson and Rob Lowery added 11 points apiece for Dayton. Paul Williams was the fourth Flyer in double digits with 10. Lowery also had four assists against zero turnovers, while Marcus Johnson had three assists with zero turnovers and also went six-for-six from the line. Williams was seven-for-eight at the charity stripe.
Hollis scored 19 to lead George Washington, which qualified for the tournament for the first time since 2007.
The win gave the Flyers their third straight 20-win season and propelled them into the A-10 tournament quarterfinals Friday in Atlantic City, N.J. Dayton, the No. 7 seed, will play No. 2 seed and regular-season co-champion Xavier at 6:35 p.m. ET. The game will be televised by CBS College Sports Regional and seen in the Dayton area on WHIO-TV (ch. 7).
Head Coach Brian Gregory
“We did a great job, especially in the second half. George Washington did a great job on the glass. In crunch time we came up with every big rebound and didn’t panic in the end. We made aggressive plays to the basket.”
“We were in need of getting extra possessions and Kurt came up for us big.”
“George Washington was a much different team than we played five weeks ago. We had a lot of good basketball from a lot of our guys.”
“We were able to grind it out. You have to give a lot of credit to our seniors. Kurt was tremendous and his energy and his intensity helped draw fouls.”
“We have to take care of the ball, but I think we could have rebounded better. We do such a good job of rebounding usually, but we need to be a little more engaged than we were.”
“This is a great win for us and an opportunity to move forward and play another 40 minutes.”
“At times we may have over-dribbled. We had some good looks for CJ, but didn’t make them. Our guys stayed poised and dug in on defense.”
“It’s a great accomplishment for our team to have 20 wins in three consecutive years. At times we’ve concentrated on what they haven’t done instead of what they have accomplished. I know our expectations are high and we haven’t met those yet. Frustration levels will rise and I understand that. For our seniors to win 20 straight games in three straight years is an unbelievable thing. Every night they put the uniform on they put it all on the line. They have such a close connection to this city and our fan base.”
“I just wanted to be aggressive. Coach just kept saying to keep shooting and keep shooting. Shots were going to fall eventually.”
“Just getting the win. Us seniors we had a meeting before the game and we just wanted to go out there and get the ‘W.’”
“It’s exciting, but we are going to prepare for (Xavier) in the next couple of days and head to Atlantic City.”
“We just know we have to give it our all every single night and we cannot let up. We’re not perfect, nobody’s perfect and we make mistakes. But we have to learn and move on.”
“A win is a win. Unfortunately we got out-rebounded, which is something we try to do well. We knew coming in they are a scrappy, pretty athletic team. They did a good job on that.”
“Every point is big, lay-ups and all the points in the first half are just as big as the free throws down the stretch.”
“20 wins is nice but we can get more. The season is not over.”
“Anybody can win. We believe it. We’re going to Atlantic City. We just have to take it one day at a time.”
GW Head Coach Karl Hobbs
“I thought that was the difference in the game – I thought the kid, 41 (Kurt Huelsman), I thought he did a fantastic job keeping balls alive, getting second shots and then we fouled him. I think he’s a 50-something percent free throw shooter, but today he was like a 90-percent free throw shooter. In fact, he missed one, but every other shot hit the rim. I thought he was the difference in the game. I thought we played tremendous defense, but I thought that kid was able to get second shots and put backs – but his free throw shooting was the difference.”
“I think you got to give the kid credit. I mean the kid got in there and he got rebounds, and we had to foul him. You know, that’s what he does – that’s what he does for his basketball team. He’s the guy that’s going to screen, he’s the guy that’s going to do all the little things – and those little things were the difference in the game today.”
“I thought their pressure – their man-to-man defense – really forced our offense so far away from the basket. But I thought once we kind of settled down, we started to attack them a little bit to loosen it up, I thought we’d go on a run after that. But we knew it was going to be tough – defensively, we knew they were going to be tough, just scoring points against these guys. But for us to come in this building, we shot 44 percent for the game, that’s a pretty good shooting percentage. And once again, I thought our defense was fine – but once again, I thought 41 was the difference in the game tonight.”
“I keep going back to big 41, he kept getting the key rebounds to keep them with the advantage. The kid made his free throws – you have to give him credit.”
“I think they’re a good basketball team. We knew this game was going to come down to strategy. We wanted to make sure that in the last four minutes we were within 6, and we accomplished that. You know when you’re shooting the one-and-one to bring us within 2 or 1, you got to finish that. It’s as simple as that. You got to go like there’s no more tomorrow – you got to finish that. On the other hand, the kid, 41, we needed him to miss a couple of them – he made all of them.”
“I think if you would have told any of our fans, or anyone who follows the program at the beginning of the year, you got a choice – you can win 16 games and be happy with that, I think most people would have taken it and run with it. I think for this team to win 16 games is tremendous. I think how they performed in the league, pretty much in every game – and I’m not saying we’re happy with that – but for the most part, it was a good year for us. It wasn’t a year that we underachieved, and it certainly was a year that we got a lot that we can build on – and the most important thing is that we are back to playing our GW style; we’ve got to add some pieces to what we have, and we’ll be right back there chasing for the title.”