PHILADELPHIA - Redshirt junior Vertrail Vaughns poured in a season-high 14 points and the George Mason men's basketball team made a late run, holding off Drexel down the stretch in a 68-62 Colonial Athletic Association victory on Thursday at the Daskalakis Center.
The win moves Mason's record to 8-5 in CAA play and 15-10 overall, while the Dragons dropped to 10-15, 6-7 in conference action.
Vaughns led a Patriots offensive effort that saw four double-figure scorers, as sophomore Erik Copes chipped in 12 points along with a team-high eight rebounds in his hometown. Sherrod Wright added 11 points and Corey Edwards contributed 10 to lead the way for Mason, which out-shot the Dragons 48-to-38 percent from the field.
The Patriots also won the battle of the boards, grabbing 37 rebounds to 28 for Drexel. Damion Lee and Derrick Thomas each had 16 points to pace the Dragons, while Daryl McCoy recorded a game-high 12 rebounds.
Drexel opened with a 6-2 run but Mason answered with six in a row of their own, taking their first lead at the 15:38 mark on a Jonathan Arledge jumper. Another DU run, this time 13-3, pushed the advantage to eight at 19-11 on a Massenat 3-pointer. Mason was held to just one Edwards 3-pointer in a span of more than six minutes. Vaughns hit a bucket with 8:13 on the clock to close within 19-17, but the Dragons would hold the lead into the half at 26-22.
Wright had six points in the opening half to lead Mason while Massenat scored nine, all from beyond the arc. Mason led the rebounding battle 19-13 but had 10 turnovers to four for DU.
Maintaining their lead out of the locker room, the Dragons held the advantage for more than 11 minutes, pushing it as large as eight at 32-24 on another Massenat trey with 15:46 left. Mason worked the deficit down, and a pair of Vaughns free throws with 8:57 left swung the lead the Patriots' way, 43-42.
Remaining a one possession game until the final seconds, Mason took the lead for good on an Edwards 3-pointer from the left side with just under two minutes remaining, making it 58-56. Edwards would push it to a two-possession game with 34 seconds showing on the clock with two free throws, and after Massenat hit 1-of-2 from the line to close within 65-62 inside of 20 seconds left, Copes and Wright iced the win at the charity stripe with three free throws.
Mason will be back in action in less than 48 hours, hosting Georgia State on Homecoming Saturday. Tip time from the Patriot Center is set for 4 p.m.