GW's Jon Elmore drives on Wheeling Park's Chalmer Moffett.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- George Washington's Jon Elmore was good enough to win an individual free-throw shooting contest on Saturday, but his sparkling shooting from the charity stripe was bested by a Wheeling Park team effort.Elmore went 18 for 20 from the foul line en route to 38 points but it wasn't enough, thanks in part to a 28-for-36 collective effort from Wheeling Park as the visitors outlasted host GW 77-72.Park hit 15 of its 17 free throws in the fourth quarter, which was enough to hold off a hard-charging Elmore, who nailed a 3-pointer with just over a minute to go to cut a deficit that reached as high as nine points down to one at 68-67. But Park's Toddy Goodwin-Rowe, Luke Saseen, Trenton Smith and Ryan Reinbeau combined to hit 9 of 10 foul shots down the stretch to hold GW at bay.
"We played better tonight than we did on Dec. 20 [a loss to Winfield] and we closed the game out," Wheeling Park coach Michael Jebbia said."You just know Elmore is going to keep coming and keep coming, and you've just got to try and slow him down. We went man-to-man, we went full-court pressure, we went 1-3-1, and I'm sure he went for 30-something. I thought he had zero at halftime and he had 14."Elmore had just three points in the first quarter but poured in 24 in the second half, including a stretch over the third and fourth quarters in which he scored 19 of GW's 22 points.But credit a ferocious rebounding effort by Wheeling Park, led by sophomore Philip Bledsoe, who pulled down 12 boards to go with his 11 points."That was all about defense and rebounding," GW coach Rick Greene said. "We gave up I think 20 offensive rebounds. We've got to get more [scoring] balance than we've been getting, and you can spin it 1,000 different ways but the bottom line is we didn't keep them off the boards.""I think [Greene] said they had 20 offensive rebounds and I know most teams don't give up 20 offensive rebounds in three games," Elmore added. "We've got to box out, find a man, and put a body on him because they were just roaming freely down there getting second-chance baskets."While George Washington was Elmore-or-bust for much of the game, Wheeling Park (3-1) got contributions from everywhere as five players reached double figures.Goodwin-Rowe led the charge with 16 points followed by Reinbeau with 15, Chalmer Moffett with 13 off the bench and Sasseen with 10, to go along with Bledsoe's contribution.Moffett provided a nice spark for Park, especially in the third quarter as he scored seven points while Park turned a two-point halftime deficit into a two-point lead heading into the final period."It's nice to have two pretty good, solid big guys," Jebbia said of Moffett and Bledsoe. "And Toddy played an excellent basketball game today. I think the first couple of games this season he was kind of pressing on himself a little bit - he just went out and played today."Dominik King added 13 points for GW (3-2) and Chris Kay chipped in with eight as the two combined to knock down five 3-pointers.
But while Elmore's scoring stats look nice, it doesn't directly lead to wins, and Greene said the scoring burden is actually detrimental to other facets of his game."He can score, but he's a great passer, he's a great set-people-up player," Greene said. "When he's having to [look to score most the time] then it's tough on everybody."Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him at twitter.com/RPritt.