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George Mason defeats VCU 79-76 in OT: Third Siegel Center win in four years

George MasonGeorge Mason continued its stellar play inside the Siegel Center Saturday afternoon, taking down first-place VCU in overtime, 79-76.

The Patriots (10-8, 6-6 A-10) trailed by 13 (39-26) early in the second half and by seven (59-52) with 7:49 to play. But Mason used a late 7-0 spurt to take a 63-61 lead with 4:25 left.

VCU (16-5, 9-3 A-10) re-took the lead (67-65) with 1:09 left, but Josh Oduro converted a bucket with 48 seconds left. Neither team could score in the final seconds, forcing overtime. The Patriots were +3 (12-9) in the extra session.

Sophomore Josh Oduro led Mason with a monstrous effort and career day. The Gainesville, Va., product poured in a career-best 27 points (8-11 FG, 11-14 FT), to go along with six rebounds, a block and an assist in 29 minutes on the floor. He shattered his previous career high of 19, set earlier this season against Towson.

With the victory, Mason has now won three of their past four games inside the Siegel Center.

“Our guys were really able to execute and I thought we really defended,” Mason coach Dave Paulsen said. “We made it hard for [Bones] Hyland. We showed what we are capable of – I think this team is getting better. We wish we’d have been able to play a few more games since our Fordham win, but we weren’t rusty today. Our guys played well across the board.”

The Patriots dominated the glass against the rebound-adept Rams, holding a +16 (42-26) edge, including an impressive 15-3 margin on the offensive glass. Mason scored a whopping 48 points in the paint and used its offensive rebounding edge to hold a +11 (13-2) advantage in second chance points.

In addition to Oduro’s excellent performance, junior Jordan Miller added 15 points, nine rebounds and three steals, while senior Javon Greene added 14 points (5-9 FG), four assists and three rebounds.

The Patriots also received outstanding contributions from Otis Frazier III, who tallied career bests in points (10), rebounds (6) and minutes (30), and junior Jamal Hartwell II, who added seven points, including two big baskets late.

VCU scored seven of the first nine points as Mason opened 1-of-7 from the floor. But active defense led to transition offense from there, as the Patriots rattled off a 9-0 spurt, highlighted by a pair of fast break buckets, to go up 13-7 at the 13:23 mark of the first half.

VCU rallied back to tie the game at 17-17, but after Mason went up 20-17, a series of turnovers by the Patriots fueled a 9-2 run by the Rams. That put VCU up four (26-22) and another run, this time 7-0, by the Rams allowed VCU to take a 36-26 edge into the break. In all, the Rams scored 19 of the final 25 points of the stanza.

The Rams pushed the lead to 13 (39-26) on the first possession of the second half, but a 5-0 spurt by the Patriots cut it back to six (39-33). A nice drive and finish from Otis Frazier III moved Mason to within three (43-40) and the Patriots trailed by just two (47-45) with 13:26 remaining.

VCU used a 6-0 spurt to go back up by eight (53-45) and led by seven with under eight minutes to go. With VCU up 61-56, Mason rattled off seven-straight points, including four from Oduro, to go up 63-61 at the 4:25 mark. A Hartwell II jumped increased the edge to three (65-62), but VCU converted a late AND1 play to go up 67-65 with 1:09 left. Oduro’s lay-in tied it up at 67-67, and Mason got two stops over the final 40 seconds to send the game to OT.

VCU scored the first basket of OT to make it 69-67, but three-straight buckets from Oduro, Greene and Frazier III propelled the Patriots in front, 73-69 with 59 seconds remaining. The Patriots would not relinquish the lead from there, bolstered by some key late free throws from Oduro.

The Patriots return to EagleBank Arena to host Revolutionary Rival George Washington on Wednesday (February 24). The 6 p.m. contest will air regionally on MASN and be broadcast nationally on ESPN+.

augusta free press
augusta free press