Second half surge leads Rhode Island past George Mason
Mason led by 11 (26-15) at the 8:13 mark of the first half, but at that point, Rhody used its top-50 defense to lock in. The Rams closed the half on a 12-3 run to tie it up at the half (34-34), then held a +20 scoring advantage (46-26) in the second stanza.
Junior Jordan Miller continued his trend of outstanding performances on the road with a game-high 22 points (9-17 FG, 4-8 FG) to go along with five rebounds and two assists in 34 minutes.
Cumberland, R.I., native Tyler Kolek also reached double figures in his Ocean State homecoming, tallying 13 points, four rebounds and two assists while making a trio of 3-pointers on the day.
URI held a 34-20 advantage in points in the paint and was +8 (44-36) on the glass while Patriot bigs AJ Wilson (19 minutes) and Josh Oduro (20 minutes) battled foul trouble.
Mason shot 53.8 percent (7-13) from 3-point range in a solid first half but could make just 2-of-13 attempts (.125) in the second. The Patriots shot 33.3 percent (23-69) overall for the contest.
Mason limited the Rams to just one made field goal over the first seven minutes as the Patriots jumped out to a 16-5 advantage. Rhode Island responded with an 8-0 run to move within three, but a Kolek 3-pointer and Javon Greene free throws fueled a 7-0 spurt from Mason that put the Patriots back up 10 (23-13) at the 9:07 mark.
Another Kolek triple extended the edge to 11 (26-15), but foul trouble for Oduro and Wilson allowed the Rams to climb back in it. Mason could only convert one field goal over the final five minutes, as Rhody closed the stanza on a 12-3 run to tie it up at the break (34-34).
Rhody went up six (43-37) at the 16:42 mark of the second half, but Mason moved back within three (51-48) after a triple from Hartwell II at the 13:13 mark of the stanza. Mason trailed 58-52 with 10:02 to go, but a deciding 11-2 spurt by the Rams gave URI a 75-58 lead with 2:33 to go. Mason struggled to shoot the ball down the stretch, as Rhode Island held the Patriots to one field goal over the final 4:25 of action.
Mason returns home for the first of two-straight contests against Saint Joseph’s. Tip-off on Wednesday between the Hawks and Patriots is scheduled for 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.