- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 3, 2005

Pops Mensah-Bonsu got a nice ovation as he went from the bench to the scorer’s table early in the first half of 19th-ranked George Washington’s game with Boston University. Wearing a white headband and white socks up to his knees, the 6-foot-9 high-flyer checked in for the first time this season after serving a three-game NCAA-related suspension.

The celebrated senior and preseason All-Atlantic 10 selection promptly got the ball down low on his first possession and went up for one of his signature dunks. The result was unimpressive: Mensah-Bonsu got just a piece of the rim as he botched the opportunity. He was out of sync, but GW was able to pull away from the undermanned Terriers 75-62 before 4,009 at Smith Center. The Colonials finally have their whole team — even if their biggest star is a bit rusty.

“The whole week I was just trying to calm my nerves and not let them take me out of my game,” said Mensah-Bonsu, whose suspension was because of violations with his entry in the NBA Draft and subsequent tryouts. “I was a little more excited than I expected and could never really get it going.”

GW improved to 4-0 for the first time since its Sweet 16 season of 1992-93. The Colonials have stayed perfect against Kennesaw State, Norfolk State and St. Francis (Pa.). Coach Karl Hobbs’ club will get its first real test when it plays No. 23 Maryland on Monday night in the BB&T; Classic at MCI Center.

Hobbs, though, feels plenty tested already. Since a 45-point rout in their opener, the Colonials have won by 13.7 points.

“I am worried about everything,” Hobbs said. “Are you kidding me? Have you seen the last three games?”

The Colonials struggled defensively, allowing BU to shoot 61.9 percent in the second half (55.8 percent overall) and cut a 13-point halftime deficit to one. The Terriers made six of 11 3-pointers in the second half and were within seven points with less than four minutes left. Guard Shaun Wynn scored 18 points for BU on 6-for-8 shooting from 3-point range.

GW’s Mike Hall (16 points, 10 rebounds) scored five straight on a pair of free throws and a 3-pointer to reopen the lead to six. After another 3-pointer by Wynn, Omar Williams’ 3-pointer from the top of the key ignited a 7-0 GW run. Maureece Rice, who had a team-high 17 points on 7-for-9 shooting and made all three of his 3-pointers, stole the ball at halfcourt before cruising in for a layup.

J.R. Pinnock’s breakaway, windmill slam gave the Colonials a 58-50 lead. Carl Elliott keyed the defense with five steals and had a strong offensive game with 13 points. The Colonials couldn’t rest easy until little-used freshman Noel Wilmore made a 3-pointer from the left corner to give them a 10-point lead. Hall scored off an alley-oop from Williams to make it 72-60 with 2:36 left.

“It was one of those games where we had to find a way to win because they were really executing their offense,” Hobbs said. “They were getting good shots. They were really hurting us inside.”

Mensah-Bonsu scored just four points on 2-for-5 shooting with three rebounds and two turnovers in 21 minutes. He missed a finger-roll attempt and a two-footer and committed a foul by barreling into 5-foot-11 Bryan Geffen at the 3-point line right in front of Hobbs.

BU (0-5) won at least 20 games the last four seasons but has been reduced to nine available players — including four freshmen [-] because of three injuries and a suspension. Sophomore guard Matt Wolff, son of coach Dennis, was the latest to go down when he tore ligaments in his left knee in Tuesday’s loss to Rhode Island. He likely is out for the season.

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