GW begins defense of A-10 Tournament title against Temple
=== GW begins defense of A-10 Tournament title against Temple ===
(Sports Network) - The top-seeded George Washington Colonials will look to take their first step towards defending their Atlantic-10 title when they battle the ninth-seeded Temple Owls this afternoon in a quarterfinal round of the Atlantic-10 Tournament. The Colonials have been one the best teams in the nation throughout the season and come into this contest with the best overall record at 26-1. George Washington, which is the six- seeded team in the nation, finished the year with a pristine 16-0 record inside conference play, and comes into this quarterfinal matchup with an 18-game winning streak. George Washington closed out its season with a thrilling 86-85 last second overtime victory over the Charlotte 49ers.
As for the Owls, they came into the postseason with four losses in their last five matchups, but the team was still able to defeat Rhode Island in the opening round, 74-45. Temple is 16-13 on the season and an even 8-8 in league action, which led to the Owls entering the tourney as the ninth-seed. In regards to the A-10 Tournament, the Owls have had tremendous success, posting a dominating 41-17 record along with a conference best six titles. Temple owns a 45-15 advantage over the Colonials in the all-time series, but George Washington has won the last four meetings, including a 72-60 win earlier this season.
The Owls were one of the best defensive teams in the entire Atlantic-10 Conference, surrendering a meager 58.7 ppg, while holding the opposition to a mediocre 42.3 percent shooting effort from the floor. Unfortunately the team has been terrible at the offensive end of the court, scoring just 62.2 ppg, while shooting a lackluster 40.1 percent from the field. Luckily the team has been able to limit its mistakes, as the Owls are committing just 7.6 turnovers per game with ranks first in the nation. Mardy Collins has been sensational all season for Temple, scoring 16.7 ppg, while dishing out 117 assists and recording 80 steals. Antywane Robinson and Mark Tyndale have also been solid, as Robinson is posting 12.6 ppg to go along with 4.9 rpg, while Tyndale is contributing 10.4 ppg. Dustin Salisbery rounds out the double-figure scorers for Temple, chipping in 10.3 ppg.
In Temple's win over Rhode Island in the opening round, the Owls shot 48.2 percent from the field and committed just nine turnovers in the win. Robinson scored 23 points and grabbed seven boards, while Tyndale added 19 points to go along with eight rebounds. Salisbery tallied 15 points, while Collins only finished the game with six points, but dished out 10 assists.
The Colonials finished the season surrendering just 66.6 ppg, but the main reason for George Washington's success this year has been the team's play at the offensive end of the court. The Colonials come into the tournament averaging a conference best 79.9 ppg, while shooting an impressive 47.8 percent from the field. Unfortunately, the Colonials look to be without Pops Mensah-Bonsu for the Atlantic-10 tournament due to a knee injury he suffered against la Salle late in the season. However, on a bright side, the Colonials have more than enough talent at the offensive end to get the job done.
Danilo Pinnock leads the squad with 14.9 ppg on the season and is also averaging 5.3 rpg to go along with 84 assists and 65 steals. Maureece Rice and Carl Elliott have also made solid contributions this year, as Rice is posting 12.6 ppg, while Elliott is producing 11.0 ppg to go along with a team-high 109 assists. Mike Hall is the final player averaging double figures for George Washington, as the forward is scoring 11.0 ppg. In the team's thrilling season-finale victory over Charlotte, the Colonials were mediocre offensively, shooting 44.6 percent from the floor, which included a lackluster 12-of-34 showing from behind the arc. Pinnock led the way with 19 points and seven rebounds, while Rice came off the bench to contribute 16 points. Mike Hall posted a double-double, averaging 13 points to go along with 11 boards, while Elliott registered 12 points. Omar Williams chipped in 10 points and collected nine caroms in the win.GWASH TEMPLE