There were grimaces throughout Smith Center with just less than five minutes left on Monday, the understandable reaction to Aaron Ware's missed layup that would have put George Washington up seven points.
Then UNC Wilmington's Tanner Milson hit a 3-pointer.
Then he hit another to hand his team the lead.
And before long, the rebuilding Seahawks left Foggy Bottom with a 73-69 victory.
From George Washington's perspective, it was just another reminder of how the smallest miscue can foil their chances this season.
"It's almost [like] if we don't have an eight-to-10-point lead, anything can happen because then every shot becomes such big shot, particularly when there's three minutes left," coach Karl Hobbs said.
It's how life is going to be, like it or not, for the Colonials without the help of Lasan Kromah. The sophomore suffered a foot injury in late October and is likely done for the season, depriving GW of a player who scored 20 points on six occasions in his first season.
Some nights --- like precisely a week earlier against Nevada --- the Colonials (2-3) will grind their way to some sort of impressive result. On others, a team like the Seahawks (3-3) can snatch a victory under the right conditions.
Like, say, a freshman with 13 career points producing a 25-point night with seven 3-pointers included.
Some of Milson's shots came in the opening minutes, when the Seahawks cobbled together a 19-7 lead. A couple came moments after the close-but-not-quite missed layup in transition.
And two of the points sealed things for UNC Wilmington, a pair of free throws to hand the Seahawks their largest lead in the final 30 minutes.
Not that the Colonials don't have some answers. It's that they need almost all of them on a given night.
Monday, freshman Nemanja Mikic nearly matched Milson with 23 points (and did match Milson's seven 3-pointers). But point guard Tony Taylor dealt with foul trouble and the starting backcourt managed seven points.
It wasn't perfect, not anywhere close, and that's not to be expected from many teams as November comes to a close. But it might well remain the case for the balance of the season, which means the Colonials must get used to life as a tightrope act.
And even then, someone --- such as a Milson --- can do quite a bit to make life miserable.
"At the end of the day [No. 12] had 25 points," Hobbs said. "That's a career for him."
There's no obvious time to regroup, either. The Colonials' nonconference schedule isn't littered with top-25 opponents, but there are few pushovers, either. They will need precision, consistent contributions and probably a little luck if they are to improve on last year's 16-win total.
Containing perimeter threats and keeping the likes of Taylor and Joseph Katuka out of foul trouble is important. But so, too, will be simply limiting the basic mistakes certain to prompt a series of facial contortions on any night.
"We've got to find a way to finish plays," said Hobbs, whose team visits George Mason on Wednesday and meets Navy in the BB&T Classic on Sunday. "We have a fast break and we miss a layup and they make a 3. That's a five-point swing pretty much and it was at a critical moment. I don't know what else to say."