Xavier jumped out to an 11-3 lead thanks in part to stifling defense that held George Washington to no field goals in its first 13 tries. It would turn out to be an omen for the way the game would end as the Colonials would fail to score a field goal or a free throw in the five-minute overtime period.
Xavier took a 29-28 lead into halftime. GW took 36-35 lead with 16:46 left in the game on a layup from sophomore guard SirValiant Brown, who tied senior guard Mike King for team-high scoring honors with 13 points. Xavier erased the one-point GW lead with a 10-0 run to take a 45-36 lead with 13:29 left. Some poor XU free-throw shooting opened the door for a George Washington comeback. GW answered with an 11-1 run to take the lead right back at 47-46 with 9:49 left. It was back and forth after that until the closing seconds.
Xavier led 63-62 with just seconds left. During a scramble for the ball, senior Patrick Ngongba was fouled with one second left in regulation by fellow Central African Republic native and XU freshman Romain Sato. He battled the raucous crowd to hit 1-of-2 free throws to send the game to overtime tied at 63-all.
"Give a lot of credit to GW," said Xavier head coach Skip Prosser. "For most of the game, they took it to us. At times, we really guarded. We made some stops when we had to. I thought our students played great free-throw defense, holding (Patrick) Ngongba to just one free throw."
Xavier dominated the overtime period, outscoring George Washington 8-0. Neither team scored a field goal in the overtime period. All of XU?s overtime points came from the free-throw line.
The game featured a record-setting performance from Xavier sophomore forward/center David West, who finished with 26 points, a career-high 21 rebounds, three assists and a career-high six blocks. The 21 rebounds set a new Atlantic 10 Conference sophomore record and marked the third-highest single game rebound total ever in an A-10 game. West has now recorded a "double-double" in scoring-rebounding in eight straight games and 12 of the last 14 games.
"They?re a good team," said West. "They have a bunch of big-time scorers. I?ve played them two times this year and two times last year. The games always go down to the wire."
Xavier also got a "double-double" effort from junior forward Kevin Frey, who finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds.
For the record, West?s 26-point, 20-rebound game marked the first time XU has had a "20-20" since the wild 115-113 win in 1990 over run-and-gun Loyola Marymount (1-2-90) when both Tyrone Hill and Derek Strong reached the milestone. Hill, who is now with the Philadelphia 76ers, had 38 points and 20 rebounds that night, while Strong, who is now with the L.A. Clippers, had 24 points and 24 rebounds. The 20-rebound effort was XU?s first 20-rebound game since Torraye Braggs snagged 20 at Rhode Island on February 24, 1998.
Xavier plays at St. Joseph?s on Wednesday at 8:00 p.m.