- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 25, 2006

PITTSBURGH — Senior forward Pops Mensah-Bonsu scored a career-high 29 points at Duquesne last night, but two of them seemed to be worth more than the others.

With the pesky Dukes sticking around midway through the second half, Mensah-Bonsu grabbed an alley-oop pass from guard Maureece Rice and threw down a tomahawk dunk. The demonstrative slam gave No. 14 George Washington the lead for good in a 94-78 Atlantic 10 victory.

“I thought that [Mensah-Bonsu] was absolutely fabulous tonight,” Colonials coach Karl Hobbs said. “We needed him to play this kind of game to win this game tonight.”

The game was tied 55-55 with 14:50 to play when Rice hit a short jumper and then on the next possession found Mensah-Bonsu working along the baseline behind the Duquesne defense.

Rice’s pass seemed destined for the Dukes’ cheerleaders along the far wall, but Mensah-Bonsu grabbed the ball with his right hand and slammed it in one fluid motion.

“The adrenaline was flowing,” Mensah-Bonsu said. “I guess I could jump a little higher.”

Mensah-Bonsu finished 10-for-16 from the field, including four dunks, and added 12 rebounds. He was one of five players to score in double figures for GW (15-1, 5-0). Danilo Pinnock and Mike Hall scored 13 apiece, Omar Williams had 11 and Rice 10.

Senior guard Bryant McAllister led Duquesne (2-15, 0-6) with 23 points. Keith Gayden, who kept the Dukes in the game in the first half, added 13 points and seven rebounds before sitting most of the final 25 minutes in foul trouble.

When McAllister converted a three-point play to make it 59-58 with 13:16 to play, Mensah-Bonsu added another dunk as part of a 10-2 run. George Washington led by at least five the rest of the way. The Colonials ended the game on a 15-5 run.

“Pops was really unstoppable,” Duquesne coach Danny Nee said. “He’s a man-child.”

The victory was the seventh in a row for George Washington, which plays host to surprising Rhode Island (11-6, 5-1) on Saturday at Smith Center.

George Washington has won 21 of its past 24 meetings with the Dukes, including five in a row by at least 16 points.

It was the ninth consecutive loss for Duquesne, which is careening toward the worst season in the program’s history. But for at least one night the Dukes looked like a team on the rise.

George Washington withstood perhaps Duquesne’s most inspired 20 minutes of basketball to lead by five points at the break. The Colonials needed a late first-half run and Pinnock’s fadeaway 18-foot jumper over the outstretched arms of Duquesne guard Adam Souply to take a 46-41 halftime lead.

The Colonials took an 8-2 lead on Omar Williams’ 3-point basket, but Duquesne answered with a 10-3 run for a 12-11 lead on Chauncey Duke’s 3-pointer from the left corner just four minutes into the game.

After a pair of Mensah-Bonsu free throws and a Pinnock putback staked GW to a 15-13 lead, Duquesne put together a 10-2 run for a 23-17 lead on McAllister’s free throw with 11:03 left in the first half.

But Gayden, who sparked the early Dukes run, picked up a third foul moments later and sat the rest of the first half.

With Gayden gone from the game, George Washington attacked the youthful Duquesne frontcourt. Mensah-Bonsu posted back-to-back dunks, and Montrell McDonald scored on a follow-up dunk to tie the game at 23-23 with 9:13 to play in the first half.

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