Colonials Advance To A-10 Semifinals With Win Over Fordham, 79-63
Pops Mensah-Bonsu scores 21 points to lead George Washington.
March 10, 2005
By JOE KAY
CINCINNATI (AP) - Pops Mensah-Bonsu scored 21 points and Mike Hall added 18 on Thursday night, steadying George Washington to a 79-63 victory over Fordham that put the Colonials in the Atlantic 10 tournament semifinals.
With Mensah-Bonsu scoring inside and Hall hitting from the perimeter, the Colonials broke open a close game in the second half.
George Washington (20-7) became the first Atlantic 10 team with 20 victories this season. The tournament most likely will produce the conference's only representative in the NCAA tournament.
The Colonials have won their last six games against Fordham (13-16) and 12 of their last 13. George Washington is 14-4 all-time against the Rams.
The start of the game was delayed for a few minutes because an overhead ventilation fan wobbled, clanked and spewed black debris onto the court during pregame introductions, forcing the players and cheerleaders to scurry out of the way. The fan was turned off and the floor was swept.
George Washington is the highest-scoring team in the A10, averaging 77.2 points per game. The Colonials were way off the mark at the outset Thursday, missing 12 of their first 16 shots.
The shooting slump allowed Fordham to stay close with its youthful lineup - three freshmen have been regular starters. Freshman forward Marcus Stout led the Rams to their first A10 tournament win by scoring a career-high 31 points in a 65-53 victory over Duquesne on Wednesday.
Stout scored 19 points against George Washington, but was only 5-of-13 from the field. Jermaine Anderson led Fordham with 20 points, and Bryant Dunston added 19.
George Washington got four consecutive baskets from T.J. Thompson, including a 3-pointer, and pulled ahead 26-19, the first substantial lead by either team. Omar Williams opened the second half with a three-point play that gave George Washington the game's first double-digit lead, 36-26.
Fordham cut it to 40-36 on four consecutive free throws by Dunston, but George Washington pulled away from there by doing what it does best - run the floor. J.R. Pinnock made two fastbreak layups and Thompson hit another 3-pointer during a 12-4 spurt that built the lead to 52-40. Thompson finished with 17 points.
Hall and Mensah-Bonsu then teamed up on a decisive 14-3 run that pushed the lead to 18 points. Hall had 10 points in the spurt, Mensah-Bonsu the other four.