Mason Edges Monarchs, 54-50
By ODU Athletics
Feb. 4, 2012
Post-Game Press Conference:
FAIRFAX, VA-- ODU's defense held the Patriots to just .277 shooting from the floor, but Mason rallied in the second half to defeat the Monarchs, 54-50 in the ESPNU nationally televised contest dropping the Monarchs out of first place.
ODU is now 15-10 overall and 10-3 in the CAA, while the Patriots improve to 19-6 overall and 11-2 in the CAA. The loss ended the Monarchs four-game winning streak, and gives Mason the regular season series sweep. ODU is now 5-2 in CAA road games.
ODU took a six point, 26-20 lead into to the lockerroom at halftime with Kent Bazemore leading the way with seven points and Nick Wright with six. ODU's defense had forced the Patriots into 12 turnovers and .200 (6-30) shooting from the field.
In the second half, Kent Bazemore scored the Monarchs first basket to push the lead to 28-20, but the ODU would go the next 7:48 before it would score again. In that time George Mason tied the game at 28-28 with two free throws by Ryan Pearson, then take the lead for good on a Pearson layup with 12:32 left in the game.
ODU made it 32-30 at the 12:02 mark after two free throws by Kent Bazemore. Mason then got a basket from Vaughan Gray and two free throws from Pearson for a 36-30 lead.
The Patriots increased it to seven, 40-33 before the Monarchs cut the lead to three on three different ocasions, but were unable to get the tying basket, the last time at 46-43 with 1:55 left in the game.
Mason then hit eight free throws to seal the win as they outscored ODU, 34-24 in the second half, led by Ryan Pearson's 15 points in the half.
Three Monarchs scored in double figures led by Trian Iliadis with 13, followed by Kent Bazemore with 11 and Chris Cooper with 10. Nick Wright finished with seven rebounds, followed by Donte Hill with six. Bazemore also led all with five assists on the night.
Cooper who was in foul trouble most of the game hauled down 10 rebounds to go with his 10 points for his CAA leading 14th double-double of the season before fouling out with 31 seconds left in the game.
Ryan Pearson led the Patriots with 17 points and 10 rebounds. While Mason was 1-10 from three-point range, they were 27-35 from the free throw line.
ODU finished the night at .328 (19-58) and Mason was .277 (13-47). Mason outrebounded ODU, 43-39 and committed 21 turnovers to the Monarchs 18.
The Monarchs return to action Wednesday night when they travel to Williamsburg to take on the Tribe of William and Mary at 7 p.m.