Feb. 11, 2006
PHILADELPHIA- A basket by Pops Mensah Bonsuh with 23 seconds left foiled Saint Joseph's upset bid of #8 George Washington, as the Colonials hung on, 64-62, and improved to 20-1 and 10-0 in the Atlantic 10.
Mensah-Bonsu, though, answered Mallon's basket with the winning layup. Carl Elliott added one free throw and Rob Ferguson's 3-pointer was off the mark in the final seconds to allow the Colonials to hang on for the win.
Playing their second consecutive Top 10 opponent, the Hawks used a start similar to that against #4 Villanova on Tuesday, jumping out to the early lead and holding a 33-25 edge at halftime.
Unfortunately for the Hawks, the start of the second half was also similar to the one against Villanova, when the Wildcats erased a 12-point halftime deficit with a 21-3 run. This time, George Washington went on a 20-0 run to take a 45-35 lead. SJU rebounded and went on an 8-0 run of its own to close to 47-45 on a jumper by Chet Stachitas at the midway point of the half.
GW built the lead back up to 59-50 with 5:40 to play, but the Hawks would go on to score the next eight points, with four from Lee, to close to 59-58 at 2:50. Lee's free throws gave the Hawks a 60-59 lead at 1:47, but Mensah-Bonsu (21 points) came back with a layup at 1:23 to put GW ahead again. Mallon's putback at :36 regained the lead for the Hawks, but the eventual gamewinner from Mensah-Bonsu came at :23.
The Hawks struggled from beyond the arc, making a season-low 1-for-22, including a dismal 0-for-11 effort in the second half.
"We crumbled again," Saint Joseph's coach Phil Martelli said. "Our maturity level in the second half has to be questioned. It's very disappointing. We showed toughness in the first half, but none in the first 12 minutes of the second half. It should not happen."
Ferguson had a team-high 14 points, while Mallon and Stachitas had 12 apiece and Lee finished with 11. Leading scorer Abdulai Jalloh went 0-for-7 in the game, but had four points from the foul line and had a career-high 10 rebounds.
GW did a lot of its damage from the foul line, making 16-of-30, with Mensah-Bonsu hitting 11-for-19. The Hawks were just 11-for-14 from the foul line.
Saint Joseph's has lost two in a row but will look to get back on the winning track at Temple on Tuesday, Feb. 14. That game will be televised nationally on ESPN2 beginning at 7:30 p.m.