- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 9, 2006

CINCINNATI — Temple’s famously stingy defense ended No. 6 George Washington’s perfect run through the Atlantic 10.

The Owls’ matchup zone left George Washington’s high-powered offense in a shambles today, setting up a 68-53 victory over the sixth-ranked Colonials in the A10 tournament quarterfinals.

George Washington (26-2) was only the fourth team to make it through the A10 regular season without a loss. The unblemished record ended against a team known for making opponents look bad at tournament time.

The Colonials came into the game as the only one-loss team in Division I, riding an 18-game winning streak. Against Temple, those lofty numbers became a burden

The last team to run the table during the Atlantic 10 regular season also got its comeuppance at tournament time. Two years ago, Saint Joseph’s was 27-0 and ranked No. 1 heading into the tournament, only to get drubbed by Xavier in its opening game at Dayton.

Midway through the first half today, the Owls (17-13) gave hints that they were up to an upset as well, digging in and preventing George Washington from scoring for 9 minutes, 30 seconds.

Once they got up, they never let up on defense, holding the conference’s top offense to 33 percent shooting from the field while forcing 19 turnovers.

The upset opened the way for the Atlantic 10 to get a second team in the NCAA Tournament, soaking up one of the 34 at-large bids for the 65-team field. George Washington was the only A10 team to make it last season, and was expected to go it alone again.

That is, until Temple created a little more postseason havoc.

It was another notable tournament moment for Temple coach John Chaney, who missed last year’s A10 tournament under a self-imposed suspension. Chaney was making amends for sending Nehemiah Ingram into a game against Saint Joseph’s to purposely foul. One of the hard fouls broke the arm of Saint Joseph’s John Bryant.

Antywane Robinson led Temple with 19 points, and Wayne Marshall and Mark Tyndale added 15 apiece. Carl Elliott led the Colonials with 18 points.

George Washington has the conference’s top offense, a balanced attack that averaged 80 points. The Colonials led the A10 in scoring and shooting percentage, and beat Temple by 12 points on Jan. 4 in their only matchup this season.

The Colonials looked confident as they went up 23-18 on Elliott’s 3-pointer with 7:58 left in the first half. They didn’t score again for the rest of the half, falling behind 31-23 as the Owls’ famed zone engulfed George Washington’s fastbreak offense and slowly squeezed the energy out of it.

Temple’s big-body front line kept George Washington from driving to the basket, and the Owls’ aggressive guards disrupted the Colonials’ passing. George Washington had 12 turnovers in the first half, and coach George Karl repeatedly called timeouts to try to straighten things out.

Nothing worked. George Washington missed its last 10 shots and had seven turnovers during the nearly 8-minute dry spell before halftime. Mardy Collins’ fastbreak dunk just before the buzzer completed a 13-point run and made it 31-23.

George Washington hadn’t struggled so badly since its only loss of the season, 79-58 to North Carolina State on Dec. 30.

Temple pushed the lead to 13 points before Elliott’s two free throws early in the second half ended George Washington’s 9:30 scoring drought.

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