FAIRFAX, Va. - A double-digit scoring run opened up the action on Tuesday
night for the George Mason men's basketball team, fueling a 66-46 victory over
Albany to close out the consolation round of the 2011 Dick's Sporting Goods NIT
Season Tip-Off. Mason improved to 4-2, winning back-to-back games for the first
time this season and improving their home win streak to 17 games, while Albany
dropped to 2-3.
Senior Ryan Pearson led a trio of double-figure scorers as
he poured in a game-high 24 points while adding seven rebounds. Classmate Mike
Morrison fell one rebound short of a
double-double as he also scored 13 points, while sophomore Sherrod Wright
scored 12 points to go with a career-high seven rebounds. The brunt of Mason's
offense came in the paint, outscoring the Great Danes by a 52-22 margin. Albany was led by 15 points from Logan
Mason opened the game on a torrid stretch of 12 unanswered
points, holding the Great Danes off the scoreboard until the 15:36 mark when
Watts's jumper ended the run. That started a 6-0 run for Albany which cut the
margin to six, as close as they would get in the first half. An 8-2 run by the
Patriots made it 22-8 with just over eight minutes showing on the clock, and
Mason went on to lead by as many as 18 in the half after Morrison completed the
three-point play with 5:13 left.
Another six in a row by the Great Danes closed the gap to
30-18 inside of two minutes, but a Pearson jumper at the 1:27 mark followed by
a free throw with 17 seconds remaining by the junior set the halftime margin of
Pearson was 6-of-9 in the first half en route to 13 points,
while Copes pulled down six rebounds in the opening half. Logan Aronhalt had
seven points to pace the Great Danes, who were held to 17.9 percent field goal
shooting (5-28) while Mason connected on 14 of 31 attempts (45.2 percent). Mason
also controlled the game down low, outrebounding Albany by a 26-17 margin and
outscoring the visitors 26-6 in the paint.
Mason matched its 33-point scoring total in the second half,
allowing the Great Danes no closer than 11 points in the stanza. The Patriots' offense
improved to 50 percent shooting in the second half (14-28).
The Patriots will break for the Thanksgiving holiday and return
to the court a week from Wednesday, hosting Bucknell on November 30 at 7 p.m.