By Dustin Dow
The Cincinnati Enquirer
George Washington's players, thinking they had upset Xavier Saturday, were understandably distraught when officials ruled that David West's tip-in did in fact beat the buzzer, giving Xavier a 71-70 win.
But they may have taken their anger a little too far. GW's Mike Hall kicked the scorer's table after Xavier was declared the winner. Later, Cintas Center operations worker Tim Sullivan said the kick bent a bar that controls rotating advertising signs that cover the front of the table. He did not know how much it would cost to replace.
The visitors' locker room was left intact, but two ceiling panels in the hallway that led to the locker room were damaged. Sullivan said the panels were not damaged prior to the game, and he estimated their cost at around $10.
Damage done to the ceiling of the the hallway leading to the visiting team's locker room.
(Ernest Coleman photo)
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George Washington coach Karl Hobbs did not address any damages, but he empathized with his players feelings.
"You give everything and play as hard as they did on the road against the No. 13 team in the country and you don't come up with the victory," Hobbs said. "It wouldn't have been so bad if they had counted the shot right off the bat. But the emotion from our players was for about five minutes, we had won the ballgame. And they went that high and then that down."
WEST REACHES 2K: David West made an easy layup for his 2,000th career point, nine minutes into the game.
Romain Sato cut to the middle of the lane, took a pass from the top of the key and was trapped by two GW defenders. That left West wide-open underneath, and Sato immediately dumped the ball down to him.
The basket put West into an elite Xavier group with Byron Larkin and Tyrone Hill as the school's only 2,000-point players.
"That's a tremendous feat," said Xavier coach Thad Matta. "The most astonishing thing in my mind about the 2,000 points is that he is the most unselfish player I've ever seen."
SATO TOO MUCH FOR GW: Sato made four of six 3-pointers for 20 points, but Hobbs said it was his all-around game that made him so important.
"To me, the most valuable player is Romain Sato," Hobbs said. "He does all the little, tough things. Because he is so good defensively, he makes David West a better player. I think Romain Sato is the MVP of the league."
FREE THROW WOES: Xavier entered Saturday shooting 76 percent from the free throw line but made just eight of 16.
Dedrick Finn missed two front ends of one-and-one bonuses and shot 0-for-3 from the line.
SMITH'S PRESENCE: Seldom-used freshman post Angelo Smith played eight minutes, scoring two points and grabbing three rebounds. He came in after Anthony Myles picked up two first-half fouls.
"He really gave us a boost," Matta said of Smith. "He came in with great energy."
FIRST-PLACE MATCHUP: Xavier travels to Saint Joseph's Wednesday for a matchup of the A-10's division leaders. The Musketeers (22-4, 13-1) remain a half-game in front of Dayton (21-5, 13-2) after the Flyers narrowly defeated Fordham Saturday.
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