CINCINNATI (AP) -- J.R. Pinnock scored 16 points Friday night, leading George Washington to a 77-58 victory over Temple and a berth in the Atlantic 10 tournament championship game.
The Colonials (21-7) will be looking for their first title against top-seeded Saint Joseph's (19-10), which beat Xavier in the other semifinal. George Washington was one of the A10's charters members in 1976 but has never won its tournament, losing title games in 1991 and 1998.The Colonials used their scoring balance during in a 15-1 run midway through the second half that left Temple (16-13) to deal with the fallout of a disturbing season.Hall of Fame coach John Chaney was suspended for ordering Nehemiah Ingram -- a reserve he called "a goon" -- to get rough in a Feb. 22 game against Saint Joseph's. Ingram had a vicious foul on Saint Joseph's senior forward John Bryant that broke his arm.University president David Adamany plans to meet with the coach after the season to discuss his future.Whether Chaney or assistant Dan Leibovitz was coaching, the Owls never came together. They didn't win more than two games in a row all season and failed to reach the NCAA Tournament for the fourth straight year. The 19-point loss on Friday equaled their worst in 58 A10 tournament games.The Owls crumbled against the team they've dominated -- Temple is 45-14 overall against George Washington. This time, the best they could do was one good half.Pops Mensah-Bonsu added 14 points for George Washington, and Mike Hall and T.J. Thompson had 11 apiece.Mark Tyndale led Temple with 18 points. Mardy Collins, the Owls' leading scorer at 18 points per game, finished with only six on 3-of-14 shooting. Collins missed all of his eight shots from behind the arc.George Washington led the conference in scoring but had trouble finding open shots against the Owls' famed matchup zone defense in the first half. George Washington opened the game in a 4-for-13 rut, allowing Temple to pull ahead 17-12.There were three ties and five lead changes the rest of the half, which ended with George Washington up 31-30.Mensah-Bonsu blocked a shot and scored to start the decisive 15-1 run, which featured baskets by six players and made it 59-43 with 9:33 to go. Temple was last in the conference in 3-point shooting and went only 4-of-24 from behind the arc, preventing the Owls from closing the gap.Thompson went 1-of-7 from behind the arc, setting a George Washington record with his 244th career 3-pointer. He had been tied with Kwame Evans and Shawnta Rogers at 233.