Pinnock, Elliott shine in debut

The GW men’s basketball team used 13 players in its first exhibition game of the season, but for the second straight year, junior Tamal Forchion was not one of them. An unspecified pulled muscle sidelined Forchion while the rest of the Colonials overcame 22 turnovers to beat the Universal All-Stars, 97-74, at the Smith Center Saturday night.

Forchion’s injury is not as serious as the broken ankle that sidelined him for much of last season, but GW head coach Karl Hobbs said he is not sure when the forward will return.

“Only Tamal knows that,” he said. “Whenever he’s ready to go, he’ll have to work his way back into the rotation.”

The Colonials’ annual preseason games against traveling exhibition squads are usually blowouts in GW’s favor, though Universal trailed by only six at halftime after shooting 48 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes.

“I thought in the first half, some of our turnovers created easy baskets, so we never got a chance to defend them,” Hobbs said. “But obviously I wasn’t pleased with that percentage.”

The Colonials clamped down in the second half, holding Universal to 30 percent shooting, and quickly extended their lead to double digits after halftime.

Sophomore Pops Mensah-Bonsu had a team-high 14 points, but the most notable performances came from freshmen J.R. Pinnock and Carl Elliott. After earning a spot in the starting lineup, Elliott tallied nine points, seven assists and three steals despite turning the ball over four times. Pinnock had 11 points in 20 minutes, including two crowd-pleasing dunks and an athletic block that thwarted a Universal fast break.

“It was my first game, so when I stepped out there, I can’t lie, I had some butterflies in my stomach,” Pinnock said. “It’s a dream come true.”

Pinnock said he hopes to provide a spark with his energetic play, adding, “if that’s a leader then yes, that’s what I want to be.”

The Colonials will play another exhibition game next Saturday at home before opening the season at Charlotte Nov. 21.

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