FAIRFAX, Va. - Forced to
overcome a double-digit first-half deficit, the George Mason men's basketball team
exploded with a 16-0 run to open the second half, providing the cushion in a 70-56 Colonial Athletic
Association victory over William & Mary on Monday afternoon at the Patriot
Patriots (10-4, 2-0 CAA) won their third straight game while the Tribe dropped
to 2-12, 0-2 in conference play.
four players score in double figures, led by a season-high 20 points from
senior Andre Cornelius including five 3-pointers. Fellow senior Mike Morrison
chipped in 14 points along with a team-high six rebounds, while senior Ryan
Pearson and sophomore Bryon Allen rounded out the group with 11 and 10 points,
Thornton led the way for William & Mary as he scored 23 points while Tim
Rusthoven added 11.
the Patriots on the board at the 18:34 mark with a layup, sparking a run of
five in a row before W&M scored on a Tom Schalk basket. Fred Heldring
tied the score with a 3-pointer, and he finished off the 7-0 run with a jumper
to give the Tribe their first lead. An Allen 3-pointer returned the advantage
to Mason, but the Tribe used a 13-2 run to open up a double-digit lead at 20-10
with 9:27 left in the first half.
Mason stormed back with eight in a row to cut it to 20-18 with eight minutes to
go in the opening period, but another run by the Tribe, this time 7-2, pushed
the visitors' lead to 27-20. Behind the hot hand of Cornelius, the Patriots
returned fire, closing the half on a 12-4 run to head into the locker room up
Thornton was the first half's leading scorer with 15, while Cornelius
contributed 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting. As a team, the Tribe out-shot the
Patriots by a 48-to-44 percent margin and held an 18-10 advantage on the boards
while turning the ball over 10 times compared to Mason's six.
Another huge Patriots run opened the second half, as Mason pushed its lead to
double digits for the first time thanks to 16 unanswered points. Tim Rusthoven
stopped the run when he connected on a free throw with 13:26 showing on the
clock. Mason's lead stayed in double figures for the duration, though the Tribe
mounted a 9-0 run in just three minutes to cut the gap to 10 points at 63-53.
Patriots will look to make it four straight when they travel to Old Dominion
on Thursday evening. Tip off from Norfolk is set for 7 p.m. and the game will
be televised on Comcast SportsNet.