- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 9, 2006

The George Washington student section routinely chanted, “You can’t stop him.” The Dayton Flyers really didn’t need the reminder.

The Flyers had no answer for Colonials center Pops Mensah-Bonsu, who used his quickness and inside moves to lead GW to an 81-67 victory before a near-capacity crowd of 5,000 at Smith Center. Mensah-Bonsu had 20 points — including 14 in the first half on 6-for-7 shooting from the floor — and he had plenty of help as the eighth-ranked Colonials improved to 19-1 overall and 9-0 in the Atlantic 10 with their 11th straight victory.

The Colonials matched the best 20-game record in program history and can surpass the 1953-54 squad for best 21-game start with a win Saturday at Saint Joseph’s.

While the 6-foot-9 senior provided the inside impetus, his teammates took advantage of the zone defense set to limit the big man from London. The Colonials made seven of 15 3-pointers in the decisive first half as six players connected on at least one. GW shot 54.8 percent and had a 19-9 rebounding advantage while taking a 49-30 halftime lead.

“We wanted to go into Pops and establish the inside position,” GW coach Karl Hobbs said. “We competed at all times, and at times our offense was magnificent.”

While Mensah-Bonsu controlled the paint, GW junior shooting guard Danilo Pinnock had 21 points in the game and several mesmerizing plays in the second half, including a backcourt steal that ended with an alley-oop to himself from the foul line before a thunderous slam that gave the Colonials a 73-53 lead. He also had six rebounds, four steals and three assists.

On another fastbreak, Montrell McDonald arched a high alley-oop to Pinnock, who slammed it in on his descent to make it 67-47. Moments later, Pinnock did the solo act as he flipped the ball in the air before finishing another spectacular dunk.

“I have got to go with my freshman [McDonald] throwing me the ‘oop,’,” Pinnock said when asked which play he liked better. “We practice our break like that a lot. I almost didn’t go up and dunk it because I was surprised he threw it. I think the pass was a lot better than the ‘oop’ to myself.”

Meanwhile, the Colonials’ defensive pressure forced 16 turnovers, further impressing Flyers coach Brian Gregory.

“I was with an NBA scout before the game, a buddy of mine,” Gregory said. “He said this is the second-most athletic team in the country, right behind [third-ranked] Memphis. I have seen some very good teams. They are as good as anybody around. They have a good chemistry. You have to have senior leadership. You have to have seniors to win. … They have all the ingredients.”

GW responded to the Flyers’ 3-pointer on the game’s first possession with 14 straight points, fueled by turnovers off the press that led to fastbreak baskets and inside scores from Mensah-Bonsu. The Colonials had 12 assists on 17 first-half baskets.

GW point guard Carl Elliott had 11 points, making three of four 3-pointers, as the Colonials took their latest step toward going undefeated in the league.

The Flyers (11-13, 3-7) never got closer than eight after the Colonials’ early eruption. In a league in which only 12 of the 14 teams advance to the conference tournament, Dayton is in the precarious 12th spot, ahead of only Duquesne (1-9 after losing last night’s game at Rhode Island) and St. Bonaventure (0-9).

Charles Little had 13 points to lead Dayton, which lost its seventh road game in eight tries and played its fifth game without Monty Scott, a preseason all-conference player who has a stress fracture in his foot. Flyers guard Brian Roberts, who had made 42.4 percent of his 3-pointers, missed all seven of his long-range tries as Dayton made just five of 18.

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