VCU races past George Mason

george masonGeorge Mason played VCU even for the first 30 minutes of the game but simply could not hit shots over the final 10, dropping a 79-63 contest to the Rams inside the Siegel Center Saturday night.

Mason (13-9, 7-2) tied the score at 52-52 at the 10:40 mark of the second half, but VCU (15-6, 6-2) scored 27 of the final 39 points of the game to finish off the victory. The Patriots shot 59 percent (23-39) from 2-point range but struggled from 3-point range, converting 2-of-19 attempts (.105) from deep.

“VCU played a heck of a game,” head coach Dave Paulsen said. “We really battled, but they hit three 3-pointers and made a run we couldn’t recover from. Our frontcourt played well and Jordan Miller gave us a great effort. We had as good a practice as we ever had yesterday and I’m pleased with our approach. We just can’t let this VCU loss turn into two and we have to get ready for Richmond Wednesday.”

Freshman Jordan Miller put together an outstanding performance for the Green & Gold with 14 points and a career-best 13 rebounds to tally the first double-double of his Mason career. He also made 6-of-8 field goal attempts in 30 minutes on the floor.

Redshirt-junior Jarred Reuter added 15 points and made all six of his field goal attempts, while sophomore forward Greg Calixte also put together an excellent effort with 13 points (6-8 FG) and three rebounds in 20 minutes on the floor.

Mason held a 38-33 edge on the glass and posted 42 points in the paint to VCU’s 28. The Rams, which entered the game shooting 29.7 percent from 3-point range on the year, made 11 3-pointers on the night.

The two teams played to an early 8-8 tie, then Mason took a 12-11 lead on a lay-in from Reuter at the 12:01 mark of the first half. After a back and forth next few minutes, VCU took a 22-20 lead, then used a 7-1 spurt to go up 31-21 with 3:38 to go in the stanza. Mason cut it to eight (38-30) at the half.

The Patriots were within eight at the break, despite going just 1-of-8 from the 3-point line and committing nine turnovers.

VCU pushed the lead up to 14 (46-32) at the 18:04 mark of the second half, but at that point, Mason unleashed a 12-0 surge to get right back in the game. The spurt included three buckets from Calixte which helped pull the Green & Gold within three (49-46) with 13:41 remaining in the contest.

Mason tied it up at 52-52 on a step-back jumper from Jason Douglas-Stanley, but from there, the Rams converted 3-pointers on three-consecutive possessions to go back up nine (61-52) with 9:16 left. Mason moved back within five (63-58) on a difficult floater from Livingston II at the 7:30 mark, but at that point, the Rams utilized a 12-2 run over the next five minutes to effectively put the game out of reach.

The Rams built a 75-60 edge with three minutes to go and wrapped up the victory from there.

Mason returns to greater RVA for the first of two 2018-19 matchups with the Richmond Spiders. Tip-off Wednesday inside the Robins Center is set for 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN+.

uva basketball team of destiny
Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25.


The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.
 
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