Mason notches 20th, knocks off Hofstra, 72-62

Overcoming a one-point halftime deficit, the George Mason men’s basketball team shot better than 50 percent from the field and pulled away late from Hofstra, securing  a 72-62 Colonial Athletic Association victory on Wednesday evening at the Patriot Center.

Mason (20-6) notched its 20th win of the year, marking its 11th 20-win season in program history, staying atop the conference standings at 12-2. Hofstra dropped to 2-12 in conference and 8-18 overall in the loss.

Senior Ryan Pearson led a trio of double-digit scorers with 16 points, while sophomore Sherrod Wright added 12 points along with a career-high tying seven rebounds. Senior Mike Morrison chipped in 10 points, while Mike Moore led the Pride with a game-high 18 points.

Mason out-shot the Pride by a 52.9-to-36.5 percent margin from the field, while also winning the battle of the boards by a 32-to-29 margin.

The Patriots led for much of the first 10 minutes, up by as many as five in the period at 28-23 before, following a Jonathan Arledge jumper at the 5:51 mark, Mason was held without a field goal for the remainder of the first half. In that span, the Pride mounted a 6-1 run, eventually taking a 32-31 lead with 42 seconds left after a Stephen Nwaukoni free throw.

It would stand as the halftime margin, with senior Andre Cornelius leading the Mason effort with eight first-half points. Moore had 10 points in the first 20 minutes to pace the Pride.

In a game with 12 tie scores and 11 lead changes, the final one came at the 5:17 mark on a 3-pointer by Wright, making the score 57-56 in favor of the Patriots. Mason led by as many as six earlier on, but the Pride took their final lead at 56-54 on a Nathaniel Lester 3-point play.

Hofstra got it back to two points at 60-58 with 3:43 left with two Nwaukoni free throws, but the Patriots closed out the game with a 12-4 run to register their first double-digit victory since the 89-79 win over James Madison on January 28.

The Patriots return to the road next, traveling to UNCW for a 7 p.m. tilt with the Seahawks on Saturday night on MASN.


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