No. 19 Colonials Rally To Beat Red Flash, 85-68
George Washington improves to 3-0 on the season.
Nov. 30, 2005
WASHINGTON (AP) - George Washington is off to a perfect start without one of its star seniors.
J.R. Pinnock scored 20 points for the No. 19 Colonials, who overcame a poor first half to beat St. Francis, Pa., 85-68 Wednesday.
Pops Mensah-Bonsu, a 6-9 senior who averaged 12.6 points and 6.6 rebounds last season, will join the Colonials for their game Friday against Boston University after serving a three-game suspension for violations related to his early declaration for the NBA draft.
"We can't wait for him. I'm going to sleep real well tonight knowing he'll be available for Friday," coach Karl Hobbs said.
On Wednesday, the Colonials used a balanced attack to beat St. Francis (2-4), with Pinnock leading four players in double figures.
St. Francis freshman Grant Surprenant, who had scored 17 points all season coming into the game, scored 17 of his game-high 26 points in the first half as the Red Flash played George Washington to a 35-35 tie. The Colonials didn't help themselves, turning the ball over nine times and allowing the Red Flash a number of open looks.
The second half was a different story, however, as George Washington limited Surprenant's touches, upped the defensive pressure and slowly began to pull away. After shooting 58 percent from the floor in the first half, St. Francis managed just 38 percent in the second.
"We kind of slowed Surprenant down a little bit," Pinnock said. "We had to slow him down. He lit a spark under their team, and had their whole team ready to go."
The Colonials began to slowly pull away midway through the second half, then took the momentum when Pinnock blocked a Surprenant jump shot to start a fast break with 14 minutes, 3 seconds remaining.
Maureece Rice finished the break with a crossover dribble followed by a layup that gave the Colonials a 48-44 advantage and roused what had been a relatively quiet crowd.
"We were a little bit more focused, paid a little bit more attention to detail as far as Grant," Hobbs said. "I really thought that was the difference in the second half ... making him work for his shots."
"We knew coming in tonight the caliber of basketball team we were going to be playing," St. Francis coach Bobby Jones said. "They're very deep and athletic. They have a number of guys who can play multiple positions, and they run them in and out.
"They are a transition team, and you've got to make shots to take them out of transition. Their four's and five's are as quick as our one's and two's."
Rashaan Benton added 16 points and Garrett Farha had a career-high 12 assists for the Red Flash.