No. 19 GW too much for Towson

Colonials' early pressure, Tigers' mistakes result in 22 turnovers, 85-69 defeat

College Basketball

December 19, 2004|By Matt Papuchis | Matt Papuchis,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

WASHINGTON - Facing one of its toughest challenges of the past several seasons and by far its biggest test since the Pat Kennedy era began this year, Towson University couldn't afford to make mistakes yesterday against No. 19 George Washington.

However, that's what the Tigers (3-7) did, and the Colonials (7-1) made them pay.

Poor first-half shooting and turnovers (22) in key situations proved to be the difference in an 85-69 loss to George Washington before 3,636 at the Charles E. Smith Center.

"We didn't handle the pressure well," Kennedy said. "In the beginning of the game, we were worried about the pressure. That's been our Achilles' heel, but we're getting better."

It was the first time the Tigers had faced a nationally ranked opponent since 1997 - a 65-55 loss to South Carolina.

Lawrence Hamm led Towson yesterday with 18 points, while Jonathan Pease had 15 points and 11 rebounds.

After trailing by as many as 21 at one point in the first half, the Tigers got as close as five early in the second, starting the half on a 4-0 run to make it 40-35.

Even though Towson outshot GW in the second half, the Colonials' aggressive rebounding at both ends of the floor allowed them to pull away again and, with 7:39 left, the Tigers were down by 20 points for the third time in the game, 70-50.

Towson tried to force the issue down the stretch but could not get closer than 12 points the rest of the way.

In the first half, the Tigers shot just 25 percent in falling down by the game-high 21 with 7:53 remaining. But they didn't give up, going on a couple of mini-runs to close out the half. On their first run, they outscored the Colonials 9-1, forcing GW to call its first timeout with 3:31 left.

The rest of the half, Towson stayed aggressive and, thanks to three-pointers by Holden Plack, Mike Green and Winston Tubbs, found itself down by just 40-31 heading into the break.

The Colonials weren`t much better from the floor in the first half, shooting just 40 percent, but their early lead gave them the breathing room they needed.

George Washington, which upset then-No. 12 Maryland earlier this season, had six players score in double figures.

"This is the most talented team we've played, so for our guys this is good preparation for the conference," Kennedy said. "I'm proud of our kids. It could have been a 40-pointer, but it wasn't. They had to earn it."

TOWSON-Hamm 6-7 5-8 18, Pease 5-11 2-2 15, Plack 4-9 4-9 13, Jackson 0-6 2-2 2, Green 2-11 0-0 6, Fletcher 2-5 1-2 7, Dixon 0-0 0-0 0, Tubbs 3-6 0-0 7, McCartney 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 22-55 15-25 69. GEORGE WASHINGTON-Williams 3-6 6-6 12, Mensah-Bonsu 5-14 5-11 15, Pinnock 6-14 0-0 12, Thompson 4-11 4-4 14, Elliott 5-8 1-1 11, Hall 2-9 1-2 5, Lucas 4-8 3-5 14, Johnson 0-0 0-0 0, Kireev 0-2 0-0 0, Rice 0-1 0-0 0, Akingbade 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 30-75 20-29 85. Half-George Washington, 40-31. 3-point goals-T 10-28 (Pease 3-8, Fletcher 2-4, Green 2-5, Hamm 1-2, Tubbs 1-2, Plack 1-4, Jackson 0-3); GW 5-12 (Lucas 3-5, Thompson 2-6, Pinnock 0-1). Rebounds-T 44 (Pease 11); GW 47 (Mensah-Bonsu 13). Assists-T 19 (Jackson, Plack 6); GW 18 (Elliott 7). Total fouls-T 24, GW 19. A-3,636.

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