FAIRFAX, Va. - Led by three double-digit
scorers, the George Mason men's basketball team held off Bucknell, 61-57
Wednesday night. The win improved Mason's season mark to 5-2 and marked the 18th
straight win at the Patriot Center, tying the building's record. Bucknell
dropped to 5-3 with the loss.
Senior Ryan Pearson scored
a team-high 16 points while redshirt sophomore Sherrod Wright added 14 and
classmate Bryon Allen added 12. Allen, along with senior Mike Morrison, pulled
down seven rebounds, while Allen's five assists were a game-high. Cameron Ayers
had 23 points to lead the Bison while Mike Muscala contributed a double-double
with 15 rebounds and 11 points.
Mason scored the game's
first five points, part of a larger 14-4 stretch that included a 9-0 Patriots
run. Bucknell answered with 10 in a row of their own to tie the score at 14,
doing so on a Muscala dunk at the 9:18 mark. The Bison held the Patriots off the
scoreboard for nearly six and a half minutes, ending when Morrison hit a jumper
in the paint at the 8:29 mark.
Joshea Singleton gave BU its first lead at 18-16, and after Copes hit a jumper
to tie it, Bryan Cohen hit a 3-pointer to make it 21-18 with 6:46 left in the
first half. The Bison led for nearly three more minutes, until Allen completed
a three-point play to tie the score at 25. Mason made four straight free throws
to retake a four-point lead, and an Arledge trey from the top of the key made
it 32-25 inside of two minutes left in the half.
Neither team found the basket from then on, giving the Patriots a seven-point
halftime lead. Allen led all scorers in the opening half with 10 points while
pulling down a team-high six rebounds. Muscala had a game-best nine rebounds in
the first half while Willman led the Bison with six points.
Bucknell outscored Mason by an 11-4 margin in the first six minutes of the
second half, tying the score at 36. From there, the teams continued at a
frantic pace with four lead changes and two ties. The Bison held the advantage
for a significant portion of the middle of the period, a lead as great as four
points at 51-47 with 7:11 left. After a pair of free throws by Pearson tied the
score at 53, Mason would not trail for the remainder of the game.
With Mason leading by four
with three minutes left, an Ayers 3-pointer cut the margin to 57-56. Two more
minutes passed with no scoring, but with 35 seconds remaining, Mike Morrison fired
a pass underneath the basket to Allen whose reverse layup was on the mark.
Muscala hit the back end of a pair of free throws with 19 seconds left, the
final scoring for the Bison, as a pair of free throws by Mason closed out the
victory. Muscala had a shot to tie the game at 60, but his 3-pointer with eight
seconds left was offline, and Mason collected the rebound before Vertrail
Vaughns' free throw sealed the win.
The Patriots are back in action Saturday night, dipping into Colonial Athletic
Association play with a 7:30 p.m. contest at Towson.