UMass Advances To A-10 Semi
March 9, 2000
By ROB MAADDI
PHILADELPHIA - Chris Kirkland scored 22 points and Shannon Crooks added 21 as Massachusetts advanced to the semifinals of the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament with an 86-68 victory over George Washington on Thursday afternoon.
UMass (17-14) plays No. 6 Temple on Friday. The Minutemen have beaten the Owls four times in the A-10 title game over the last seven years.
SirValiant Brown led George Washington (15-15) with 33 points on 8-for-26 shooting. He was 15-for-19 from the free throw line. Brown, who scored 15 points in the first half, scored 15 of 18 points for George Washington at one point, including 10 straight late in the game.
Kirkland shot 6-for-9 and made all 10 of his free throws. He had 10 rebounds. Crooks was 8-for-12 and scored 13 points in the first half. Monty Mack added 17 points for the Minutemen. Kitwana Rhymer had 12 points and 11 rebounds.
George Washington got within 43-37 on a 3-pointer by Mike King just two minutes into the second half. But the Colonials never got any closer the rest of the game.
A 10-2 run by UMass followed as the Minutemen took their biggest to that point, 53-39, with 14:33 remaining. Mack drilled a jumper, Rhymer tapped in a miss by Mack and Winston Smith capped the spurt with a fastbreak slam.
UMass put the game away with a 10-0 run, capped by a fastbreak layup from Crooks on a tap from Mack that gave the Minutemen a 66-46 lead with 8:56 remaining.
Kirkland kept George Washington scoreless during the run and thrilled the
crowd with a fine defensive play after Brown picked up a loose ball at
midcourt. Kirkland trailed Brown down the court and swatted away his shot as he
went up for a layup.
UMass used a 9-2 run early and 10-2 run late to take a 41-32 lead at halftime. Mack briefly left the game after getting hit in the face in the first half.
UMass shot 29-for-44 (66 percent) while George Washington was 21-for-62 (34 percent). The Minutemen won the battle on the boards, 35-32. The teams combined to attempt 66 foul shots.
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