CHARLESTON, W.Va. - In a season-opening crosstown showdown, the Capital boys basketball team conquered The Hill and George Washington to begin the year with a strong showing that led to a 83-73 Cougars win.
Capital took control early and though the Patriots closed the gap near halftime, the Cougars (1-0) created separation once again in the second half.
"It's a good win to come up to GW and beat them on their floor," Capital Coach Carl Clark said. "Anytime you can do that, you have to enjoy it."
Carrington Morris provided the lift for the Cougars, with a game-high 32 points, though he found plenty of support from his inside post-playing teammates in Bryce Goldsmith and Brad Grose. Goldsmith and Grose combined for 27 points on 12-of-22 shooting. Grose added 12 rebounds to the effort as well for a double-double.
"We wanted to get the ball inside a lot and we started out doing that, and we had some success doing it," Clark said. "We got away from that and that gave (George Washington) an opportunity to get back into the game. I think our inside game was stronger than theirs."
Capital opened the game with a 16-11 advantage after the first quarter and increased its lead to 26-13 three minutes into the second quarter. After starting the contest 0-of-7 from the field, GW senior Jon Elmore ignited to bring the Patriots back into the contest. With back-to-back 3-point baskets by Elmore, GW trailed just 30-29, with 2:10 left in the first half.
From that point, though, Capital did not surrender the lead and led 34-29 at halftime.
Morris opened the second half on a tear, including a pull-up 3-pointer as the Capital coaching staff shouted "No," Morris sank the shot to give the Cougars a 52-38 advantage. Later in the third quarter, another Morris 3 provided Capital with a 60-42 lead.
Still, GW never quit behind the strength of Elmore's 29 points, and the Patriots closed within five points, at 66-61, with 2:59 remaining in the fourth quarter.
"I thought we kept it close," GW Coach Rick Greene said. "We just didn't have enough firepower. They weren't going to let us come all the way back.
"When you're not as quick as the other team, it's hard to come back from 15."
Even as the Patriots cut the lead to five, the Cougars responded quickly to push the advantage back to double-digits. GW attempted to extend the game by forcing Capital to the free-throw line, but the Cougars answered by sinking their shots, including Jordan Kinney, who hit 5-of-6 free-throws in the final two minutes to record all of his points.
With less than a minute remaining in the game, Morris grabbed a steal and raced for a runaway layup. On Capital's next possession, Morris threw down a thunderous dunk that lifted Cougars fans to their feet.
"It feels good to come into this environment and get it done when you need it the most," Morris said. "The whole goal is to get the team involved. If we get the whole team involved, we can't be stopped."