Men's Basketball Rallies Late, Downs VCU in Overtime
Feb. 9, 2010
Cam Long hit a pair of free throws with 4.3 seconds to play to force overtime and the Patriots, after rallying from a 15-point deficit, beat VCU, 82-77 in front of the largest student crowd in George Mason school history. The Patriots beat the Rams with 5,486 fans in attendance including 2,091 students. Mason broke the school record for consecutive home wins against Colonial Athletic Association opponents as the Patriots have now won 18 straight against CAA teams at Patriot Center.
After shooting 53.6 percent in the first half, Mason (16-9, 11-3) held VCU (17-6, 9-5) to 36 percent shooting in the second half and just 25 percent shooting in overtime. The Patriots, meanwhile, shot just 40.9 percent in the first half but 50 percent in the second half and overtime. Mike Morrison had 17 of his career-high 18 points in the second half and overtime as Mason rallied from a 43-28 second-half deficit to take the only regular-season meeting between the teams. Morrison also had 10 boards, his fourth career double-double. Larry Sanders, who entered the game averaging 15.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.6 blocks and was top six in the CAA in scoring, rebounding, field-goal percentage and blocks, finished with 13 points, four rebounds and one block on 5 of 12 shooting. He fouled out late in regulation.
Long finished with 19 points and made his first nine free throws before finishing 9 of 10 from the line. He also had five boards, five assists and two steals in a career-high 44 minutes. Louis Birdsong had a season-high 13 points and five rebounds while Ryan Pearson had 12 points. Luke Hancock added nine points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals as Mason snapped a two-game losing streak and avoided its first three-game losing streak in three years. VCU had a four-game winning streak snapped despite 24 points and seven assists from Joey Rodriguez. Ed Nixon each had 11 points while T.J. Gwynn added 10.
After taking an early 9-4 lead, Mason watched as VCU went on a 19-7 run to go ahead by seven with eight minutes to go in the first half. After the Patriots closed to 28-23, VCU used a 13-5 run to take a 41-28 halftime lead. It's the second-most points Mason has allowed in the first half this season. After giving up a basket to VCU to start the second half, Mason mounted its comeback, first with a 13-3 run to make it a five-point game, then later, trailing 61-56, Mason used a 7-1 run to take its first lead since 13-12. The Rams did go back up by three with 22 seconds to play, but Long scored in the paint, and after Gwynn made one of two from the line, Long got back to the stripe to make the free throws to force overtime.
In the extra period, Mason fell behind 74-71 before using an 8-0 run to put the Rams on their heels as Pearson and Morrison each had three points and Hancock had two before the trio fouled out. The Patriots will return to action on Saturday when they play at Old Dominion at 4 p.m. in a game televised on Comcast SportsNet and broadcast on WTNT 570 AM.