The big men came to play. And so did the little guy.
With a career-high 19 points from freshman forward Lavoy Allen, 10 points from junior center Sergio Olmos and a career-high 17 points from senior guard Chris Clark, the men’s basketball team defeated George Washington, 93-80, at the Liacouras Center Sunday afternoon.
It was the second consecutive win for the Owls (11-9, 4-2 Atlantic Ten Conference), as they moved into a tie with Charlotte for third place in the conference standings. The game was an up-and-down contest, as the Owls blew a 17-point second half lead, only to later put the game away with a late 14-3 run. The spurt was paced by senior guard Mark Tyndale and Allen, who tallied 13 points in the second half.
Allen also added seven rebounds and scored in double-figures for the first time since Dec. 9 against Villanova, as he played his most complete game of the season.
“Coach has been telling me to be more of an inside threat,” Allen said. “Our guards have been doing most of the work on offense, and our shots aren’t always going to fall. So I had to start scoring inside.”
Meanwhile, Olmos blocked three shots and scored a point for the first time since Jan. 23 against Penn. Needless to say, he was glad he could contribute not only on the court, but also on the stat sheet.
“These last two games, I’ve [been] struggling, my confidence was real down,” Olmos said. “This game, I really wanted to step it up and show that I could play. It came out [good]. I felt good offensively and defensively, too.”
The tag-team of Olmos and Allen caused problems all day for the Colonials (5-12, 1-6), as they dropped their sixth game in a row. George Washington coach Karl Hobbs was noticeably frustrated with the way his team defended Olmos and Allen, as the duo helped the Owls out-rebounded the Colonials, 34-23.
“They’re capable guys and they were logging a lot of minutes,” he said. “They were getting the ball inside right next to the basket and I would think that any 6-foot-9 guy could come down and make a jump hook.”
In the backcourt, Clark exploded out of the gate for four three-pointers in the first half, as he surpassed his previous career-high set last Thursday against Fordham. With these stellar back-to-back games, Clark is certainly garnering the praise of his head coach.
“[Clark] did a phenomenal job,” coach Fran Dunphy said. “Every time he shot it, you thought the thing was [going in]. It didn’t touch a piece of the rim; it was just dead in the hoop.”
The Owls shot 56 percent from the field in the contest, including 45 percent from three-point range. Tyndale and junior guard Dionte Christmas both scored 21 points in the game, as Christmas sunk six three-pointers and Tyndale hit 13 of 14 free throws.
But the focus of the game was the big men, as the Owls got some much needed help from the two guys underneath. While George Washington’s lack of size played a factor, Dunphy was still eager to praise Allen and Olmos for stepping up and helping Christmas in the scoring department.
“We somehow have become dependant on [Christmas] to do [the bulk of the scoring],” Dunphy said. “And when that’s not going to happen, obviously somebody else has to step-up. So it was nice to see Lavoy and Serg [do that].”
The Owls return to action on Wednesday as they head to Richmond to battle the Spiders. They return home next Sunday for a key showdown with Massachusetts.
Former Owls center Wayne Marshall, who abruptly left the team after Dunphy arrived, was spotted sitting behind the Owls bench … Both coaching staffs wore sneakers during the game to raise awareness for Coaches vs. Cancer … The No.1-ranked 1987-88 team was honored at halftime, as former players Tim Perry and Mark Macon and former coach John Chaney received rousing ovations from the crowd.
Todd Orodenker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.