|Men's Basketball Drops 79-72 Decision to Delaware|
FAIRFAX, Va. - Double-double performances by forward Jonathan Arledge and center Erik Copes led the way for the George Mason men's basketball team, but the Patriots could not hold off Delaware as the Blue Hens defeated the Patriots, 79-72, Saturday afternoon. The loss drops Mason's record in Colonial Athletic Association play to 7-5 and 14-10 overall as a two-game winning streak was snapped. Delaware improved to 12-12 (7-4 CAA).
Arledge led the Patriots with 15 points and a career high-tying 11 rebounds, while Copes added 13 points, a career high, along with 10 rebounds. Joining the duo in double figures were juniors Bryon Allen and Sherrod Wright, who each chipped in 12 points. Allen posted a game-high of eight assists with no turnovers.
Delaware was led by 22 points from Devon Saddler, one of three Blue Hens to score in double figures. Jarvis Threatt added 20 points and a team-high 10 rebounds, as UD held a 44.4-to-39.4 percent shooting advantage. Mason won the rebounding battle, 41-34, including a 17-8 advantage in offensive rebounds.
The Blue Hens came out of the opening tap on fire, connecting on seven of their first nine field goal attempts to take a 17-11 lead. Mason cut it to within a possession at 17-14, but UD responded with an 8-2 run of its own to push their lead to nine, 25-16. The Patriots whittled that lead down to two, as Anali Okoloji drained a 3-pointer with 2:28 to go, making the score 29-27. Wright matched a pair of Carl Baptiste free throws to keep it a two-point game with less than 90 seconds remaining, but two free throws by Threatt set the eventual halftime score of 33-29.
A 7-2 run by Delaware opened the second half, part of a larger 12-4 stretch which saw the Blue Hens lead hit double figures at 45-33. Mason answered with a 10-3 run of its own, cutting the gap to 48-43 with 13:49 to go.
It would be as close as the Patriots would get until the final two minutes of the contest. Marko Gujanicic drained a 3-pointer with 1:40 left to pull Mason within 69-64, but Delaware held on for the victory, its first in Fairfax since the 2001-02 season.
Mason will be back in action on the road, traveling to Drexel for a Valentine's Day battle with the Dragons. Tip-off Thursday is set for 7 p.m. from Philadelphia.