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Elmore erupts for 45 points, GW tops Capital 83-65

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- After scoring just five points and seeing his team trailing at halftime of Thursday's showdown with Capital, George Washington standout Jon Elmore felt like he needed to do more. Did he ever.

Elmore erupted for 40 second-half points - including an astounding 12 3-point field goals - to pace the Patriots to an 83-65 victory in a Class AAA Region 3 Section 1 semifinal at GW.

His career-high-equaling 45-point output sends No. 7 George Washington (18-5) into the sectional finals at 7 p.m. Saturday against No. 2 South Charleston (22-1) at the SC Community Center.

"I just kept pulling it,'' Elmore said. "I couldn't throw the ball in the ocean in the first half, and then in the second half, I came out and hit a couple and decided to keep pulling it.''

Elmore, who was 0 of 3 from distance in the first half, finished 12 of 19, twice sinking four 3s in a row in the second half and whipping the large and vocal crowd into a frenzy.  And few of the bombs were easy, with Capital defenders hounding his every move. Several came on pull-up shots off the dribble and some were crazy, fadeaway, falling-down hoists off inbound passes.

"He was making some extremely hard shots,'' said Cougars coach Carl Clark, "falling out of bounds, people on top of him. The second half, he just exploded. When somebody gets hot like that, there's nothing you can do. We double-teamed him, we tried to keep the ball out of his hands, and nothing worked. What can you do? He was unstoppable.

"I've not seen anything like it. The closest thing I saw was when we played Oak Hill and P.G. Greene scored 40-some points on us, and it was almost a show like that.''

Elmore would have nailed a 13th 3-pointer, but a foul was ruled to have come prior to the shot. He wound up outscoring Capital all by himself in the second half 40-28.

GW coach Rick Greene knew that under normal circumstances, he wouldn't want one of his players firing up 3s with his team holding a 12-to-15-point lead with less than four minutes left. But this was not one of those nights.

"I've said this before, but he's a great player,'' Greene said, "and to me, hands-down the best player in the state, with no disrespect to anybody. But then there's great, great players that know what to do at certain times in the game, and he knew to keep going and we didn't say a thing to him. Me, it was like, 'Keep your mouth shut, coach.' We let him go.

"Now, if he would have missed some and got cold, he would have known, 'Now we're going to spread it a little bit.' With a player of his caliber, you've just got to trust him, and I do. He's going to make the right play, and the right play was for him to keep pushing it offensively. I think when Jon does that, everybody [on the team] relaxes, and everybody doesn't worry.''

GW got solid contributions from other sources, too, especially freshman center Anthony Dean (14 points, seven rebounds) and senior forward Dominik King (14 points, 10 rebounds). King sank four 3s in the first half, but the Patriots trailed at the break 37-32.

Carrington Morris, Capital's senior all-state guard, bowed out with another stellar game himself - 28 points, 13 rebounds and six steals. Miguel Bays added a dozen points and seven rebounds for the Cougars.

Morris scored 19 of his points in the first half, and sparked a 12-0 Cougars run that led to leads as large as seven points.

GW now turns its focus to SC, which outlasted the Patriots 63-62 on Feb. 1. Both teams advance to next week's regionals, with Saturday's winner hosting a game and the loser hitting the road.

"We definitely can't wait to get back down to the Community Center,'' Elmore said. "They got one from us the first time on a disputable call, but we're definitely going to go down there and play harder and hopefully the results are different.''

Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickryan@wvgazette.com.


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