Thursday , Mar , 16 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Seahawks and Colonials clash in NCAA Tournament first-round matchup

=== Seahawks and Colonials clash in NCAA Tournament first-round matchup ===

(Sports Network) – In what figures to be one of the more tightly-contested
games of the NCAA Tournament’s first round, the ninth-seeded UNC-Wilmington
Seahawks will take on the eighth-seeded George Washington Colonials. The
victorious team from this contest will move on to the second round to battle
either top-seeded Duke or 16th-seeded Southern on Saturday.

UNCW shared the Colonial Athletic Association regular-season title and
went on to win the tournament crown for the fourth time. The Seahawks have
earned their highest NCAA Tournament seed in school history and the highest
by any CAA team since 1987. They have won eight games in a row and 13 of
their last 14 entering this event, and they are 1-3 all-time in NCAA
Tournament tilts.

As for GW, it lost only one game during the regular season and finished
undefeated in Atlantic 10 play, becoming just the fourth team in league
history to accomplish that feat. Unfortunately, an unexpected loss to Temple
in the A-10 Tournament relegated the Colonials to a much lower seed than
anticipated. They lost in the first round of last season’s NCAA
Tournament as a 12-seed, and they are 2-6 all-time in first-round games.
Considering that George Washington held the nation’s longest winning
streak (18 games) prior to the Temple loss, it will be interesting to see how
the players react to the rare defeat.

Tonight’s game marks the first-ever meeting between UNC-Wilmington and George
Washington on the hardwood.

If UNC-Wilmington is going to win this game, the duo of T.J. Carter and John
Goldsberry must lead the way. Carter shined in the CAA championship game
against Hofstra, as he scored 23 points and ripped down 13 rebounds from his
guard position. Goldsberry was actually the only Seahawk starter not to reach
double figures in scoring, but he did dish out 10 assists against only two

Carter has led the club in scoring in 10 of the last 11 games and has
emerged as the undisputed go-to guy at the offensive end. He is averaging 13.3
ppg, and that mark continues to climb. Goldsberry checks in with 11.2 ppg,
and he has dished out 163 assists against 73 turnovers. He also leads the team
with 67 steals, proof of his tremendous versatility. Todd Hendley adds
balance to the lineup with 10.5 ppg for UNCW, which is netting 67.7 ppg while
limiting foes to just 59.0 ppg on 38.6 percent shooting efficiency.

George Washington big man Pops-Mensah Bonsu had surgery on his knee recently
and missed the A-10 Tournament. Clearly, his absence was felt in the
quarterfinal loss to Temple. It has been speculated that he will be able to
participate in this NCAA Tournament, but no official word has come down.

Even if Mensah-Bonsu (13.1 ppg, 7.1 rpg) can’t go against the Seahawks, GW
has a number of talented players in the lineup capable of picking up the
slack. Danilo Pinnock continues to pace the squad with 14.9 ppg, and he is
also tops with 69 steals. Maureece Rice checks in with 12.3 ppg, Carl Elliott
adds 11.5 ppg and Mike Hall is contributing 10.8 ppg to go along with 7.5
rpg for the Colonials, who are averaging 79.0 ppg while limiting foes to
66.7 ppg. A key to George Washington’s success this season is that it
has forced 501 turnovers, 105 more than it has committed.