Colonials Defeat Norfolk State, 80-69
Pinnock leads No. 21 George Washington with 19 points.
Nov. 26, 2005
Freshman Montrell McDonald is helping fill the void, too.
Pinnock scored 14 of his 19 points after halftime, Hall added 18, and McDonald made a key defensive play to help No. 21 George Washington beat Norfolk State 80-69 Saturday for its second straight victory without Mensah-Bonsu.
Tony Murphy scored 25 points for Norfolk State (0-4), which lost its first three games by an average of 18 points at the Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
But the Spartans were within 72-64 after Karandick Ogunride's three-point play with a little more than 3 minutes left. That's when McDonald came up with a steal and breakaway dunk to restore a double-digit lead, then fed Pinnock for a fast-break layup.
"That kind of put the game away a little bit," GW coach Karl Hobbs said. "Up until that point, they were pretty much in the game."
McDonald, a 6-foot-7 forward from Fort Worth, Texas, finished with 12 points and three steals for the Colonials (2-0).
Mensah-Bonsu, a senior forward, was suspended for the team's first three games for NCAA violations related to his early declaration for the NBA draft. He'll also miss next Wednesday's game against St. Francis, Pa., but can return Friday against Boston University.
In the meantime, Hall - another senior forward who declared for, then pulled out of, June's draft - has asserted himself. He shot 7-for-9 from the field, including 3-for-4 on 3s. Pinnock was 6-for-8 after halftime.
"We've got to step it up a little more in our big guy's absence," Pinnock said. "As far as scoring, no, because anybody we put on the floor can score. As far as defense and rebounding, me and Mike Hall feel like we've taken that on ourselves, to try to step it up."
Using a mix of defensive sets, including a 1-3-1 zone, GW forced 23 turnovers, blocked six shots and limited Norfolk State to 43 percent shooting.
"When they start getting into that 1-3-1, that's probably 40 feet of arms out there," Norfolk State coach Dwight Freeman said. "They cover a lot of space."
Still, Murphy got loose often enough to go 6-for-9 on 3-pointers and tie his career scoring best after averaging only 13.3 points on 39 percent shooting coming in.
"The first three games, I wasn't using my legs. I was shooting line drives," Murphy said. "I just practiced a lot, and I got my shot back."
Norfolk State took its only lead at 12-11 on Murphy's 3 about 6 minutes in, and GW responded with a 10-2 run. When the visitors pulled to 24-23, Hall made consecutive 3-pointers, followed by Pinnock's dunk to spark a 14-2 spurt.
The Spartans were within 40-31 at halftime after Murphy's steal at midcourt and desperation 3 at the buzzer. Even though the game was tight, McDonald played a total of 20 minutes - and not simply because GW was missing its top player.
"If we had (Washington Wizards forward) Caron Butler, he still would have played 20 minutes," Hobbs said. "His athleticism allows him to be more effective. He gets out on the break. He handles the ball very well. He does a terrific job defensively and he takes good shots."