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No. 6 GW keeps winning streak alive vs. Bonnies

OLEAN, N.Y. (AP) -- George Washington had no Pops, no jump and
was down six points in front of a loud crowd of St. Bonaventure
fans.

The Colonials (No. 6 ESPN/USA Today; No. 7 AP) came back from bigger deficits
seven times this season. They did it one more time.

Danilo Pinnock and Maureece Rice keyed a 13-point run in the
second half that helped George Washington beat the Bonnies 89-78
Wednesday night and extend the nation's longest winning streak to
17 games.

"We've been in a lot worse situations," said Pinnock, who
scored 15 points. "We know as long as we don't panic we'll have a
chance to win it at the end."

Rice scored eight of his 16 points in the decisive run and Omar
Williams finished with 18 for the Colonials (25-1, 15-0 Atlantic
10), who set a school record for most victories in a season.

The win against the Bonnies didn't come easy and it didn't help
that the Colonials were playing their second game without senior
forward Pops Mensah-Bonsu. George Washington's second-leading
scorer and rebounder had surgery on his left knee and is not
expected to return until the NCAA tournament.

"We really missed him today, particularly just trying to
establish an inside game to establish a tone," coach Karl Hobbs
said. "He's a hard guy to replace."

Michael Lee had 18 points for St. Bonaventure (8-18, 2-13),
which is guaranteed finishing no better than 13th in the 14-team
conference and was eliminated from competing in the A-10 tournament
next week. The Bonnies have lost 12 straight games against ranked
teams.

With No. 1 Duke (27-2) losing to Florida State on Wednesday, the
Colonials are the nation's only team with one loss.

George Washington needs only to beat Charlotte in its
regular-season finale on Saturday to become only the fourth A-10
school -- and first since Saint Joseph's in 2003-04 -- to go
undefeated in conference play.

Down 65-61 with 7:33 left, the Colonials responded with the
decisive 3-minute run that Rice started with a 3-pointer.

Pinnock then put George Washington ahead for good when he hit an
open 3. Rice followed a miss by Ahmad Smith with a pullup 3-pointer
and the run was on, bolstered by the Colonials' strong transition
game.

Pinnock hit a layin and Rice completed the run when he hit two
free throws after being fouled attempting to catch a long pass
beneath the Bonnies' basket.

"No way am I disappointed in the effort or our execution,"
Bonnies coach Anthony Solomon said. "We were going head to head
with one of the better teams in the country and we just didn't get
it down the stretch."

It was a gutsy effort by a Bonnies team that has still not fully
recovered from the effects of a 2003 recruiting scandal that led to
NCAA sanctions and the dismissal of coach Jan van Breda Kolff. This
was a team that two years ago didn't have enough scholarship
players to hold a full practice, and a team that won a school-worst
two games last season.

Hobbs gave the Bonnies full credit, too.

But he also credited his team's experience in having won tight
games and coming from behind.

The Colonials have overcome deficits of seven or more points
seven times this season. That includes their 89-85 win at Xavier in
which they trailed by 17 in the first half.

"No one wants to come down here for a nail-biter," Hobbs said.
"Yeah, we'd like to make the game easier. ... My life insurance
agent would like for them, too."

Hobbs is optimistic Mensah-Bonsu will return for the NCAA
tournament, but cautioned that it's not a guarantee. Believing
Mensah-Bonsu has a future in the NBA, Hobbs said he will not rush
his player back into the lineup unless he's 100 percent.

"If it's a decision where it looks like he's coming back a
little too early and I think it may jeopardize his long-term
ability to play in the NBA, then he won't come back," Hobbs said.