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GWU 71, USF 69 // Seminoles survive, but Bulls finally fall

There was no real analysis of the shot. No explanation of why it rimmed out. No excuse for the disappointment as the ball popped away.

From Chucky Atkins, just this: "I missed it."

Words you don't generally hear from Atkins. But the USF point guard's knack for sinking the last-second shot abandoned him at the buzzer Saturday as his three-point try rolled out, preserving George Washington's 71-69 victory at the ThunderDome.

"I come out of here a loser nine out of 10 times if Chucky Atkins gets that shot," Colonials coach Mike Jarvis said.

George Washington (4-2) overcame a 10-point deficit over the last minutes to pull out the win in the second game of the ThunderDome Shootout college basketball doubleheader.

USF trailed by two with 11.4 seconds left. Atkins took the ball upcourt but opted to go for the win instead of trying for overtime, pulling up for his three.

"Realistically, that's not what we had set to do," said USF coach Bobby Paschal, whose team was going for its first 4-0 start since 1991. "If we were down two, we wanted to take the ball to the hole on the dribble. But there's no doubt he had a good look at that last shot."

Atkins, a senior point guard who scored 23 points and moved to seventh on USF's all-time list, said: "I came up with the best thing I could do. I wasn't thinking about anything but winning."

The Bulls led 38-29 at the half, but George Washington scored a quick six to start the second, overpowered USF down low, and held the Bulls to one field goal in the final 8:21. And despite hitting 18 of 19 free throws at one point, the Bulls missed three of their last five.

George Washington's 7-1 sophomore center, Alexander Koul, had nine points down the stretch despite playing with four fouls.The Colonials went to the low post all game as their outside shooting failed (1-of-12 on threes).

"They've got the one really, really big kid, and he clearly had an impact on the game," Paschal said.

Koul, who went 8-for-8 from the field for 22 points, fouled out right before George Washington took the lead. Vaughn Jones dropped in a 12-footer with 1:31 left to make it 68-67 GWU.

The Bulls' Brian Lamb missed a poorly taken runner. After two Colonials free throws, James Harper had a chance to tie when he put back an Atkins miss and was fouled. His free throw with 12.9 seconds left missed.

"We didn't come back out in the second half playing with the kind of defensive intensity we needed, and they got three quick baskets," Paschal said. "That's reflected in that they shot 54 percent in the half."

"I think what happened here was you saw the emergence of a good basketball team," Jarvis said of his Colonials.

USF shot 44.4 percent in each half. A 9-0 run gave the Bulls a 13-10 lead, and Atkins later keyed a 19-4 run with nine points. USF's biggest lead was 34-23.

Pat Lawrence, who played a few blocks away at Gibbs High School, had 10 points and six rebounds in 10 minutes to lead USF in the first half. Donzel Rush had eight points in the first 20 minutes, Lamb seven. The three combined for only eight in the second half.