George Mason drops CAA opener

george-mason2A late run by Northeastern allowed the Huskies to pull away from the George Mason men’s basketball team, as the Patriots fell 74-64 in their Colonial Athletic Association opener on Thursday night. Mason (7-6, 0-1) dropped its first CAA home game since 2010 while the Huskies improved to 6-7, 1-0 in conference.

Junior Sherrod Wright led the Patriots with 19 points and was joined in double digits by classmate Vertrail Vaughns who contributed 13. Both junior Jonathan Arledge and sophomore Erik Copes had nine rebounds to lead a 34-27 advantage off the glass by the Patriots. NU, which shot 64 percent from the field in the second half, was led by 20 points from Jonathan Lee, one of three Huskies in double digits.

Northeastern opened the contest with seven of the first nine points on the scoreboard, but Wright scored seven in a row to equalize the game at 9-all at the 16-minute mark. He continued after the media timeout, hitting a pair of free throws to give Mason its first lead at 11-9 less than a minute later. It was part of a larger 13-2 run that made the score 15-9 seven minutes into the game.

The Patriots continued to lead until the 6:48 mark when Lee’s layup in the lane tied the score at 20-20. Five in a row for each squad kept it knotted up, and Mason would take a 31-25 lead with six more unanswered points. The Patriots eventually led by as many as nine, including a Copes turnaround jumper in the lane at the 28-second mark which made it 37-28. Derrico Peck stopped a 12-1 run with a jumper with five seconds left to set the halftime score of 37-30.

Wright along with Lee each scored nine to lead all scorers. Mason shot better, by a 53.6-to-40 percent margin from the field, and outrebounded the Huskies 16-13, forcing eight turnovers on eight steals while the Patriots committed just six in their highest scoring first half of the season.

NU got to within a basket in the opening minutes of the second half at 39-37 and tied the score at 42 less than four minutes into the period. The Patriots would use an 8-2 run to push their lead back to six, but again the Huskies answered, tying the game with just under 10 minutes to play at 52-all.

Northeastern would regain the lead at 60-58 after a Demetrius Pollard 3-pointer inside of seven minutes remaining, completing a run of six straight points. Tied at 60 though, the Huskies embarked on a 13-3 run and would lead by as many as 11 as they salted away the game.

Mason will be back in action on Saturday, traveling to face William & Mary in their first road CAA contest of the season. Tip time from Kaplan Arena is set for 2 p.m.

Augusta Health Kris McMackin CPA
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Augusta Free Press