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The GW Hatchet

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After win, Hobbs says Rice is staying

Web Update
Sunday, Dec. 23, 6:03 p.m.

Though senior co-captain Maureece Rice led last year’s victory against Longwood University, the Colonials repeated the win Sunday afternoon as their team leader sat on the bench.

GW head men’s basketball coach Karl Hobbs suspended Rice for Sunday’s 63-54 win because he broke a “team rule,” a spokesperson said before the game. It is the second time this season Rice has been suspended for this type of violation – the first at UMBC Nov. 24 where the Colonials (4-5) lost by 10 points.

After the game, Hobbs refuted rumors that Rice would be leaving the team and refused to discuss any details of his suspension.

“There is nothing to address,” Hobbs said of Rice. He would not comment whether UMBC and Sunday’s suspensions were related. Rice currently ranks third for total points scored this year, behind juniors Rob Diggs and Wynton Witherspoon.

Witherspoon, who led Sunday’s game with 19 points, said Rice’s absence was felt on the court.

“We all had to pick up the slack because Maureece wasn’t there,” he said after the game.

Hobbs spoke with Rice for several minutes before the game as the guard sat on the bench in his warm-ups. When asked afterwards whether Rice will be playing in the game against Alabama on Dec. 29th, Hobbs replied simply “I should hope.”

Without Rice, the team was coming off consecutive road losses to Virginia Tech and Binghamton. The Colonials found themselves trailing Longwood University by 13 points late in the first half.

Enter the transfers.

Junior Cheyenne Moore, who came to GW in 2005, hit the Colonials’ first three-pointer of the game with two minutes to play in the first half, triggering a 20-0 run to erase the deficit.

The run featured six consecutive team three-pointers and eight points from Witherspoon, a transfer playing in his first season as a Colonial. While the offense cooled at times as the game wore down, GW was able to maintain their lead on their way to a 63-54 victory.

“The one thing that we’ve been struggling with all year is scoring points,” Hobbs said after the win. “I thought they did a great job of providing some scoring for us.”

Moore finished with 12 points to help pace the Colonials. Freshman Miles Beatty, who also connected from beyond the arc during GW’s mid-game run, showed signs of growing into his new role at point guard en route to an 11-point effort off the bench.

“This was his best game,” Hobbs said. “I thought he made terrific decisions with the ball and he took very good shots. He was able to make one three that was particularly huge down the stretch.”

The Lancers did not go down without a fight, cutting the Colonials’ lead to 48-47 with four minutes to play. Sophomore Damian Hollis, held scoreless in the game’s first half, responded with seven unanswered points, including two three-pointers of his own. Hollis finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds, registering the second double-double of his collegiate career.

“I thought Damian really came up big, particularly with his rebounding,” Hobbs said. “He made two huge threes down the stretch.”

The Colonials next travel to Tuscaloosa, Ala., Dec. 29 to face the University of Alabama following a six-day break. The game will be the final in GW’s out-of-conference schedule before A-10 play begins Jan. 10

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