Connecticut rolls past G. Washington, 75-63

March 20, 1994|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Sun Staff Writer

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- George Washington coach Mike Jarvis jokingly referred to the sub-regional at the Nassau Coliseum yesterday as the "Connecticut Invitational."

The second-seeded Huskies may not agree, but they and third-seeded Florida advanced to the Eastern Regional semifinals at Miami with predictable victories.

Florida eliminated everybody's favorite underdog, Penn, 70-58, after Connecticut pulled away from the Colonials to win, 75-63, in the opener.

But the Huskies will have to move to not-so-neutral turf to take on Florida. They will meet each other Friday at the Miami Arena, where the Gators are certain to be the crowd favorite.

Connecticut's victory was the eighth in its past nine games, again giving the team the highest win total in the nation (29-4).

Despite battling to tie at 43, the Colonials thereafter couldn't get the ball to Yinka Dare when Connecticut dropped into a 1-3-1 zone and double-teamed Dare inside.

That forced GW to fire up low-percentage three-pointers, a strategy that was ineffective. The Colonials shot 28 percent in each half and finished at 28.8.

"I couldn't get the ball where I wanted," said Dare, who finished with 19 points (10 on dunks) and 12 rebounds, but was practically invisible during the last 10 minutes. "Even though it was a zone, they were collapsing, and I did get a little tired at the end."

GW's perimeter game produced a 6-for-22 effort from Baltimore's Kwame Evans and a 2-for-14 performance from forward Nimbo Hammons.

Overall, Jarvis' team was 5-for-28 from beyond the arc.

"Our guards forced theirs to take a lot of outside jumpers," Huskies freshman Ray Allen said. "And two or three people would get right in front of Yinka. Once we started running, he got pretty tired, and didn't want the ball himself."

Jarvis said if the Colonials had seized the lead, Connecticut might have gotten a tad uptight, particularly because All-American Donyell Marshall (18 points, 9 rebounds) wasn't particularly pouring it on offensively.

"I think they were very tight," he said of the Huskies, who struggled before putting away Rider. "If we had gotten ahead, that might have made them even tighter. But we didn't, and the better basketball team won."

In the other game, Penn, the Ivy League champion could have done little to offset the superior height and muscle of the Gators, who dominated inside, forcing Penn to play a perimeter offense that was only mildly successful.

The wide body of 6-foot-7, 286-pound Dametri Hill and the tallness of 6-10, 224-pound Andrew DeClereq were too troublesome to the Quakers, placing extreme pressure on them to shoot well from outside.

They didn't. Guard Matt Maloney was 2-for-16 from three-point range, and the team went 8-for-37. Overall, Penn made only 30.8 percent.

"I thought we played hard and fairly well," Penn coach Fran Dunphy said. "We just didn't shoot the ball. We're not a great interior scoring team anyway, and they pressured out on Maloney and Jerome Allen."

Despite their lack of accuracy, the Quakers stayed in the game for 30 minutes before two clutch three-pointers by Craig Brown put Florida in command.

With 2:19 to go, Penn (25-3) was still within 58-54, but Maloney and Allen took turns missing long-range bombs, Barry Pierce couldn't convert on several tip-in attempts and the Gators paraded to the foul line to close it out.

"We had to establish a little more in the post game than we did the other night," Hill said. "Andrew and myself had to step it up for us to win."

Hill furnished 16 points and DeClereq provided the intimidation and nine rebounds, supporting the usual brilliance of guards Dan Cross (22 points, 6 rebounds) and Brown (11 points, 4 rebounds).

Allen, a potential NBA player, led Penn with 23 points.

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