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George Mason rallies from 17 down, comes up short in 77-70 loss at Richmond

Chris Graham
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George Mason cut a 17-point second half deficit to just two, but could not get over the hump, falling to Richmond by the score of 77-70 on Saturday night inside the Robins Center.

The Patriots (13-4, 2-2 A-10) trailed 60-43 with 11:40 to play but moved as close as two (72-70) with 1:06 remaining. But Mason could not score on its final three possessions as the Spiders (11-5, 3-0 A-10) held on for the victory.

“We didn’t match the energy and intensity Richmond brought at the start of the game,” Mason coach Tony Skinn said. “We can’t go into these games on the road and spot teams points. Every team in this league is too good to have to keep trying to come back from these deficits. We gave it a fight at the end of the game but it wasn’t enough.”

Richmond’s Jordan King put the Patriots in that early deficit and finished with a career night, tallying 31 points (11-of-15 FG, 6-of-8 3FG).

Virginia Tech transfer Darius Maddox led the Patriots with a team-best 18 points to go along with five rebounds and two assists, while senior Ronald Polite III added 13 points (3-of-5 3FG) and a game-high six assists.

Amari Kelly chipped in 13 points (6-of-10 FG) and six rebounds and Jared Billups added 10 points, six rebounds and two steals.

The Spiders made 10-of-20 (50 percent) of their three-point attempts.

The Patriots started 4-of-4 from the floor and built an early 10-5 advantage. But King started the game on an absolute heater, hitting his first seven shots (4-of-4 3FG). That surge helped the Spiders build a 10-point edge (31-21) with 6:45 to go in the opening stanza. The Patriots cut it to seven twice in the closing minutes of the half, but Richmond ultimately took a 43-32 advantage into the break.

The Patriots cut it to eight (43-35) after a Maddox three-pointer to open the half, but from there, Richmond used a 7-0 spurt to go up 15 (50-35). The Spiders led by as many as 17 (60-43), but Mason clamped down on defense and used a 23-9 run over nearly nine minutes to cut the Richmond edge to just three (69-66) with 2:31 to go.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham, the king of "fringe media," is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].