RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -Eric Maynor's penchant to dominant the end of games for Virginia Commonwealth University has prompted opposing coaches to label his late-game heroics.
Mary coach Tony Shaver said. ``You get in the last three or four minutes of the game, and it's the time he likes to take it over.''
The senior point guard deflects the individual credit, but has led VCU to the top seed in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament, which begins here Friday. He was also likely to pick up his second consecutive CAA player of the year award at a banquet on Thursday night.
``It's not about me,'' he said. ``It's about VCU as a whole. All I want to do is win.''
The 6-foot-3 Maynor, a Fayetteville, N.C., native, burst on the national stage after his game-winning 17-foot jumper with 1.8 seconds left beat Duke in the first round of the 2007 NCAA tournament.
The shot was Maynor's third basket in the final 90 seconds of the victory, and the flurry made him the darling of the first round of the tournament. He's eager for one more chance.
m not trying to be remembered just for that,'' he said.
League coaches have learned not to bet against him.
Maynor went on his own 9-3 run against Northeastern with the Rams trailing 58-50 and 3:43 remaining at VCU earlier this season with first place on the line. VCU cut the deficit to 61-59 with 1:27 left behind his spurt, but the Huskies managed to hold on.
``The clock just couldn't tick quick enough,'' Northeastern coach Bill Coen said after the Huskies' 68-63 victory. ``When he has the ball in his hands, I've seen it all too many times that he makes a play that you just can't believe and makes something out of nothing.''
'Maynor Time' has become such a regular thing that his teammates become fans.
``Sometimes I'll just be watching him, thinking what's he going to do?'' forward Larry Sanders said. ``It's like I'm watching on TV or something. It's like a show. It's hard not to watch, especially when he does amazing stuff, stuff with the ball I've never seen.''
And he had been doing it long before the Duke game. In fact, he wouldn't have had the chance to play the Blue Devils had he not been even more remarkable in the prior game.
Maynor turned a five-point deficit with less than two minutes to play against George Mason in the CAA championship game into a four-point VCU lead - without his teammates even touching the ball.
o go. Another steal and layup just nine seconds later tied the game at 57.
- He followed with a defensive rebound and an off-balance leaner in the lane with 46 seconds left to give his team the lead. Another rebound with 19 seconds left and two free throws capped the rally.
``In baseball, what is it they say, that he's blessed with five tools? He has that in basketball,'' Coen said. ``He has the mental toughness and the ball-handling skills and the 3-point shooting and the in-between game and the ability to make pressure free throws.
``Any skill you can list on a basketball court, he can do it. When you have a guy like that running your team, it's no wonder that they've been as successful as they've been.''
VCU has won three consecutive regular season CAA titles and Maynor is not only the not only the Rams' career assists leader (651), but the career scoring leader, too, with 1,866 points.
Coach Anthony Grant, who has been at VCU for all three titles, has become one of the hottest young coaches in America in part because of what Maynor has helped the Rams achieve.
reat. That's why he's had the success here that he has. He understands it's about winning and it's about those relationships.''
Mary in the semifinals because, he said, ``we were already looking forward to that championship game.''
Sanders is looking forward to Maynor's big finale.
``When you think you've seen it all,'' Sanders said, ``he shows you something else.''
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