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The GW Hatchet

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WEB UPDATE: Colonials dominate St. Joseph’s in 82-70 win

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Posted Saturday, Jan. 14, 6:38 p.m. The recent conclusion of GW senior Mike Hall’s midseason slump could not have come at a better time. Hall, who scored seven and two points in his last two games, had a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds, five assists and four steals en route to a dominating 82-70 GW win over St. Joseph’s on Saturday at the Smith Center in front of 4,356 fans.

GW head coach Karl Hobbs characterized his team’s play of late as “overachieving,” a diminutive phrase that seems to fuel his team’s success.

That fuel led the No. 17/19 Colonials (12-1, 3-0 Atlantic 10) to have double-digit scoring from four players including junior Carl Elliott. Elliott dropped a career-high 20 points and grabbed four rebounds in his most complete game this year.

Hall’s play against the Hawks (6-7, 1-3 A-10) seemed to click much better with his teammates then it has in past games. He said the lull in his play is just a part of basketball.

“For those two games it was just me not being able to flow,” Hall said. “Either I was a step too slow or going too fast. I wasn’t in the same rhythm as my teammates and that just happens.”

Hobbs said the Colonials’ game plan against St. Joseph’s called for intensity on defense that would facilitate easy scores from intensified ball pressure.

“We knew this game was going to be dictated by our defense,” Hobbs said. “Our last two games, we’ve really struggled with points. I wanted to take their minds off that and just focus on the defense. That clearly was the difference in the game. It set a good tone and it gave us a large enough lead that it made it very difficult for Saint Joes to catch us in the second half.”

Hobbs’ theory proved effective as the strong defense gave GW one if its strongest offensive performances to date. Junior Danilo (J.R) Pinnock’s standout play continued with 18 points on 7-for-11 shooting. Pinnock’s defense also pushed the Hawks’ to their limit with his contributions to a stifling trap and two blocks.

Senior Pops Mensah-Bonsu had 13 points, five rebounds and two blocks. and also helped the Colonials with his hustle, diving for loose balls and taking offensive fouls.

St. Joseph’s head coach Phil Martelli, who led his team to an undefeated record in conference play during the 2003-2004 season, said he expected up-tempo play in the first half.

“The comment to our team at halftime was that we told them this is how it was going to be,” Martelli said. “It was going to be flurries defensively, guys were going to come at you. You had to be ready to be manly with the ball and it was a team that dropped their head and drove the ball.”

Martelli’s squad has played big-name teams this season, and he contended that GW is a different type of squad.

“I’m very, very impressed with their balance,” Martelli said. “There are some teams we’ve played that haven’t had their balance. I think they’ve all bought into a system.”

The Hawks, who beat Kansas earlier this season, connected on 58 percent of their field goals in the second half but only managed 42.3 percent on the game. The Colonials shot 60.4 percent (29-for-48). The Hawks turned the ball over 17 times while GW gave it up 15. GW was able to convert 22 points off the turnovers while the Hawks were far less efficient, with 11.

The Hawks got 14 points apiece from Dwayne Lee and Chet Stachitas. Stachitas connected on four-of-nine three-pointers and turned the ball over once.

Abdulai Jalloh, a product of Capitol Heights, Md., had a down game, scoring nine points in 30 minutes – eight off his season average of 16.8.

In the first half, GW led 36-15 points with 3:36 remaining in the half on an alley-oop layup by Elliott. The Hawks were able to chisel away at GW’s lead, bringing it to as low as 39-31 on a Stachitas three-pointer with 18:17 left. The Colonials never allowed the score to dip below 10 after that.

The Colonials seem to be managing expectations cautiously and not taking too much from the recent wins.

“You can’t take too much from it,” Hall said. “We still have a lot to work on.”

Specifically Hobbs said he is looking for greater bench production from freshman Montrell McDonald (six points) and Regis Koundjia.

“We need these guys to come off the bench to get a little better,” Hobbs said. “That’s what we’re trying to do as a basketball team, just keep overachieving. That’s our theme this year, just continue to overachieve.”

GW will look for its fourth straight victory Monday night in its final out-of-conference contest against Stony Brook at 7:30 p.m. The matchup will pit GW against its former associate head coach, Steve Pikiell.

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