FAIRFAX, Va. - The George Mason men's basketball team saw its 18-game home
winning streak come to a close on Wednesday evening as Duquesne defeated the
Patriots, 75-64, avenging a double-overtime loss from a season ago. Mason
dropped to 7-4 on the year with the loss, its first at home since March 16,
2010. Duquesne, meanwhile, improved to 7-5.
Senior Ryan Pearson and sophomore Vertrail Vaughns led the
way offensively for Mason with 13 points apiece while senior Andre Cornelius,
making his season debut after a 10-game suspension, chipped in 11. Sean Johnson
led a quartet of Dukes players in double figures with 14 points. In a game
marked by 40 combined team turnovers, the Dukes edged Mason off the glass,
32-28 while the Patriots out-shot DU by a 48.1-to-46.4 percent margin.
Mason countered nearly every early Duquesne bucket and led
10-9 into the first scheduled timeout. The Dukes answered with two straight
baskets to lead 13-10 just over five minutes into the game. That advantage
would grow to eight at 23-15 after a 10-2 DU run which lasted more than three
minutes. It pushed to double digits at 33-18 as the run extended to 20-5.
A Cornelius 3-pointer from the top of the key got Mason
within eight at 38-30 with less than two minutes remaining, and after a basket
by Monteiro, he was whistled for a technical foul which sent Cornelius to the
line. He connected on one-of-two attempts, which would set the eventual
halftime score of 40-31.
Mason exploded out of the locker room with an 8-0 run to cut
it to a one-point deficit four minutes into the half, but the Dukes responded
with a 15-2 run of their own, making it 55-41. The Patriots fought back to close the gap to
eight at 64-56 on a Pearson jumper at the 3:56 mark, and a Cornelius 3-pointer
matched that margin at 71-63 inside of a minute to go. The Patriots got no closer though, as the
Dukes picked up the victory, ending Mason's chances at setting a new Patriot
Center winning streak of 19.
The Patriots are right back in action Friday night, hosting
Manhattan at 7 p.m. in their final home game of 2011. After the contest with
the Jaspers, Mason will next take the court at home in the new year on Monday,
January 2 against William & Mary, a noon tip-off.
NOTES: Redshirt sophomore forward Paris Bennett sat out
Wednesday's game and will also miss the Friday night contest against Manhattan
as part of a two-game suspension for off-the-court activities.