George Washington's Jon Elmore (33) is double-teamed by Riverside's Quan Brock (right) and Trevor Smith (rear) during Wednesday night's game.
QUINCY, W.Va. -- Jon Elmore saw something missing from George Washington in the opening half.The Patriots found their fire after halftime and so did the 6-foot-4 senior shooting guard, who fueled a late-game run that carried them to a 52-43 victory over host Riverside. A crowd of about 400 attended the Class AAA Mountain State Athletic Conference East Division matchup Wednesday.Elmore single-handedly turned a two-point lead into an 11-point cushion in the fourth quarter, scoring seven straight points, then assisting on the other bucket during a 9-0 surge as GW took a 50-39 advantage with 1:52 left in the game.Earlier, sophomore guard Quan Brock's turnaround jumper in the lane with 3:14 left in the fourth brought Riverside within 41-39.Then Elmore took over, converting a three-point play on a reverse layup and foul shot, then knocking down four straight 1-plus-1 free-throw attempts. Elmore set up GW freshman post Anthony Dean for a layup under the basket on a pass from the top of the 3-point line to finish off the run and essentially wrap up the win."It looked like we decided to save the best for the second half,'' said Elmore, who has signed with Virginia Military Institute. "We started out slow and didn't rebound very well, but then we all got together at halftime and talked it over and we were like, 'We've got to step it up if we want to be able to play in March.'"And that's what we did. We really stepped it up in the second half, just the intensity level. The second half, we started finding bodies and going after it. That's what really changed the game and our momentum.''Elmore netted 14 points of his 33 in the final period. He also made 14 of 17 foul shots and contributed eight rebounds and five assists."I just tried to do whatever it was going to take to do to win,'' said Elmore of the fourth quarter. "At the time, we needed scoring and a couple of times we needed a key assist. I just kept my head up and played my game and didn't let [Riverside's] pressure defense get me out of my rhythm.''
Senior guard Dominik King donated seven points, nine boards and two blocks for the Patriots (8-2), who vaulted to the top of the East Division standings in their first divisional game."We just talk about figuring out a way to win and grind it out,'' said GW coach Rick Greene. "I wasn't happy how we played, but I thought we just kept going. Jon got hot and some other kids made some plays and I thought we got on the boards a little bit better late.''Riverside proved tough to shake, vaulting out to a 7-0 lead in the first couple of minutes behind five straight points from senior forward Tyus Wood. Then when GW gave itself some breathing room late in the second quarter, Brock tied it up at 23-all on a steal and layup and free throw with 1:16 remaining before the break.Wood tallied 16 points, but only five after the opening quarter, and chipped in six rebounds for the Warriors (4-4, 0-2). Brock dropped in 10 points, six boards and five assists."I'm proud of my kids,'' said Riverside first-year coach Ryan Carter, whose team shot 27.8 percent. "They did all they could."We're getting killed on the glass right now. We're not getting enough shots in practice and games. We're just cold. Getting in the gym for practice will help us a whole lot.''
GW seems to be rounding into form as the calendar ticks down. The Patriots were eighth in the Class AAA Associated Press preseason poll before dropping out. GW was the top vote-getter this week outside teams in the top 10."Each game new guys are stepping up, which is what we need,'' Elmore said. "We need to find a certain lineup that everybody meshes together in. That's really what we're starting to do is get better and better.''Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at firstname.lastname@example.org