VCU gets huge win in CAA semis over #25 George Mason

The George Mason men’s basketball team saw its quest for a fifth Colonial Athletic Association title come to an end Sunday afternoon as the Patriots were upset by fourth-seed VCU, 79-63, in the semifinals of the 2011 CAA Championship. Mason (26-6) saw its 16-game winning streak snapped as they suffered their first loss since Jan. 8, while the Rams (23-10) move on to the championship game Monday night to face the winner of Old Dominion/Hofstra.

Senior Cam Long led the effort with 20 points while junior Ryan Pearson contributed 10 along with a team-high seven rebounds. Jamie Skeen paced the VCU offense with 21 points, one of four Rams in double-figure scoring. VCU out-shot the Patriots by a 48-to-43.3 percent margin but drained 11 treys and was 20-of-29 from the charity stripe, while Mason was 6-of-25 from beyond the arc (24 percent) and 5-of-13 from the free throw line.

The Patriots opened the second half on an 8-1 run to cut the gap to seven points at 40-33 less than two minutes in, but it would be the closest that the Green and Gold got as, leading 44-37, the Rams scored seven straight points to push the margin into double-digits where it would stay for the remainder of the game.

Mason only led briefly in the first half, capitalizing on a 12-2 run with a bucket plus the bonus by Long which made the score 20-18 halfway through the opening period. VCU answered with a Brandenburg 3-pointer and after a Johnny Williams free throw made it 24-21, the Rams answered with a 15-2 scoring run which pushed their lead to 14 at 39-25. Mason was held without a basket for nearly six minutes, ending the spree with Long’s bucket at the 49-second mark.

The score would hold up as the halftime margin as Long led all Patriots with 10 while Skeen led all scorers with 14 points in the first half on 5-of-8 shooting.

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