Colonials Fall To Georgia Tech In First Round Of NCAA Tourney, 80-68
Pops Mensah-Bonsu scores 15 to lead four players in double figures for George Washington.
March 19, 2005
By NANCY ARMOUR
AP National Writer
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Jarrett Jack, Will Bynum and B.J. Elder combined to score on six straight possessions in the second half, leading the Yellow Jackets to an 80-68 victory over George Washington in the first round of the NCAA tournament Friday night. Jack had 20 to lead the Yellow Jackets, who never won by more than eight points last year in their march to the championship game.
Bynum had 17 and Elder added 15 for Georgia Tech, which now plays fourth-seeded Louisville on Sunday in the Albuquerque Regional. The Cardinals (30-4) held off Louisiana-Lafayette earlier Friday night.
Pops Mensah-Bonsu scored 15 to lead four players in double figures for 12th-seeded George Washington, but the Colonials couldn't overcome their dismal foul shooting. George Washington (22-8) was just 4-of-16 at the line, including seven straight misses at one point.
T.J. Thompson, George Washington's leading scorer, was held to eight points, five below his average.
Georgia Tech (20-11) needed five thrillers to reach the title game against Connecticut last year. After winning its first three games by a total of 13 points, the Yellow Jackets beat Kansas by eight in the regional finals - but it took overtime to do it.
Facing a pesky George Washington team that produced all kinds of matchup fits, Georgia Tech looked like it was in for more drama Friday. The lead changed nine times, and George Washington kept scrapping back whenever Tech threatened to make a run. When Bynum stole the ball and took it in for a layup, giving Georgia Tech a 57-54 lead with 11 minutes left, J.R. Pinnock answered back with a quick basket.
But Elder hit a pullup jumper to spark the decisive 12-0 run that sealed the game. The Yellow Jackets scored on six straight possessions, with Bynum, Elder and Jack trading baskets.
Mensah-Bonsu finally stopped the run with a monster dunk, but George Washington could never get close again.
Tech returns almost the entire team that lost to Connecticut in last year's NCAA championship game, but the Yellow Jackets were on the bubble for this year's tournament until the last week of the regular season. They finished strong, though, beating Clemson in the regular-season finale and stunning North Carolina to reach the championship of the ACC tournament.
They lost to Duke in the title game, but came into the tournament with momentum. The Colonials did their best to slow it, forcing Luke Schenscher to the bench with two fouls less than three minutes into the game. With no answer inside, George Washington kept getting the ball to Mensah-Bonsu. He scored nine points on 4-of-4 shooting before he, too, picked up his second foul with 7:45 left.
An 11-5 run gave Georgia Tech a 32-26 lead with 4:18 to play, and Jack drove the length of the court for a layup to push the lead to 40-35 at halftime. But George Washington wasn't done. Hall made a 3-pointer that hit the rim, bounced up and then dropped back to give the Colonials a 43-42 lead with 18:30 left, its first since midway through the first half.
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