George Washington upends Mich. State

Colonials to face Terps

No. 11 Spartans fall, 96-83

College Basketball

December 05, 2004|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

WASHINGTON - In today's BB&T Classic championship game, Maryland will play an opponent that is aggressive, balanced and hungry. That was supposed to be Michigan State, but the 11th-ranked Spartans were pummeled by George Washington in yesterday's second semifinal, 96-83.

The Colonials (4-1) took control with a 10-0 run late in the first half and led by as many as 15 early in the second half. Fourth-year coach Karl Hobbs' rising team went inside for 23 points from junior center Pops Mensah-Bonsu, while senior guard T.J. Thompson got half of his 18 points on three-pointers.

Mensah-Bonsu took advantage of Paul Davis, the Spartans center who was limited to five shots and four rebounds, but Michigan State didn't defend the perimeter or the Colonials' frantic transition game either.

A Tom Izzo-coached team has never given up more points in regulation.

Syracuse beat Michigan State by the same score last season, but that was in the Carrier Dome, against the defending national champions. Yesterday, a group determined to make the same kind of waves out of the Atlantic 10 dominated the Spartans.

"They wanted it more. I'm embarrassed to say that," said Izzo, whose program went to three straight Final Fours and won the national championship in 2000. "It's ridiculous that a veteran team played with such little intelligence and got mixed up. I'm very disappointed with that performance, and I'm going to do something about it tomorrow."

That means lineup changes for today's consolation game against George Mason.

The Colonials had lost 12 straight against ranked opponents since beating St. John's in the semifinals of the 2000 BB&T Classic. They were 0-10 against the Top 25 under Hobbs, but after the most recent setback in that streak, a 97-76 loss last month at Wake Forest, Demon Deacons coach Skip Prosser boarded the George Washington bus and complimented the Colonials' hustle and style.

"We are a program that is trying to develop some type of consistency," Hobbs said. "There are some teams in our conference that we're trying to be like. Obviously, this is a tremendous win for our program."

The A-10 sent both St. Joseph's and Xavier to the Elite Eight last year. George Washington is capable of doing the same behind an engaging mix of foreign recruits such as Mensah-Bonsu, who was raised in England, and locals such as Germantown's Thompson, who played at the Newport School.

When Michigan State (3-2) lost at Duke on Tuesday, the Blue Devils made better than 50 percent of their field goal attempts and were even hotter from three-point range. The Colonials exploited those same defensive deficiencies, as they made 65.4 percent of their shots in the second half, and 64.3 percent (9-of-14) of their three-pointers for the game.

George Washington beat Maryland in the championship game of the BB&T Classic in 1997 and 1999, but the Terps got revenge in 2000 and in the consolation game in 2002.

MICHIGAN STATE-Anderson 2-6 6-6 10, Davis 3-5 1-2 7, Brown 4-10 4-4 12, Hill 5-10 0-0 15, Ager 7-14 4-4 22, Neitzel 0-2 2-2 2, Torbert 1-4 1-2 3, Bograkos 1-1 0-0 2, Naymick 1-1 1-2 3, Rowley 3-4 1-2 7. Totals 27-57 20-24 83. GEORGE WASHINGTON-Williams 1-3 2-2 4, Mensah-Bonsu 9-13 5-11 23, Pinnock 5-12 1-1 12, Thompson 6-11 3-4 18, Elliott 7-10 2-5 17, Hall 5-6 2-2 14, Lucas 2-5 0-0 6, Kireev 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 36-63 15-25 96. Half-George Washington, 49-38. 3-point goals-Michigan St. 9-24 (Hill 5-8, Ager 4-8, Nietzel 0-2, Torbert 0-2, Brown 0-3, Anderson 0-1); George Washington 9-14 (Thompson 3-6, Lucas 2-4, Hall 2-2, Pinnock 1-1, Elliott 1-1). Rebounds-Michigan St. 29 (Davis 4); GWashington 36 (Pinnock 7). Assists-Michigan St. 16 (Hill 4); George Washington 22 (Elliott 6). Total fouls-Michigan St. 21, George Washington 22. A-13,104.

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