Patriots Can’t Keep up with VCU, Fall 72-60

Posted In News - By Brian Wright On Wednesday, February 4th, 2015 With 0 Comments


Most of the 10,000 seats at Patriot Center were filled for Wednesday night’s encounter with powerful Virginia Commonwealth. And fortunately for Mason fans, the Patriots showed up as well. A spirited effort, however, wasn’t enough to overcome the 18th-ranked Rams – who pulled away in the second half en route to a 72-60 win.

A crucial 14-2 run vaulted VCU (18-4, 8-1) into a nine-point lead with just over 11 minutes remaining. Shaka Smart’s helter-skelter style – best exemplified by Mason’s 18 turnovers – was effective enough to keep the Rams in front and the Patriots at bay.

The back of VCU’s warm-up may display the word “Havoc,” but it was Mason that caused the trouble early on. Paul Hewitt’s club (7-14, 2-7) led by as much as nine in the first half, and held on to a 34-32 edge at the break.

But the Rams would soon get into rhythm – despite being without the services of Treveon Graham for the entire second half and having to deal with the misfortune of seeing Briante Weber go down to a torn ACL in the closing moments of Saturday’s loss to Richmond.

Corey Edwards’ back-to-back three-pointers, followed by a Patrick Holloway close-range jumper, turned the nine-point deficit into a one-point contest in short order. But Mason was unable to truly recapture the control they had enjoyed at the outset, although it managed to hold a whopping 43-27 advantage in rebounding.

Still, this was a far cry from the lackluster offensive effort they put forth last weekend at Duquesne, where the Patriots shot just 25.8 percent in a 45-41 loss. Isaiah Jackson scored 12 points and had 10 rebounds, while Patrick Holloway made a triumphant return and proved to be a spark off the bench with 13 points.

As for VCU, Melvin Johnson scored 17 and JeQuan Lewis had 13 points. Mo Alie-Cox did his job on the defensive end, holding Shevon Thompson’s point total to just six. The team collectively bounced back from losing two key starters, as well as the defeat at the hands of the Spiders – it’s first in A-10 play this season.

“We showed a lot of grit,” Smart said. “Which is what you need to win on the road.”

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About - Brian is a new contributor to MasonHoops.com for the 2014-2015 season. With over a decade's worth of sports journalism experience, he has been featured on Bleacher Report, SB Nation, as well as The Washington Examiner. Currently, Brian is the MLB Lead Writer for The Sports Daily (thesportsdaily.net/author/brianwright), a staff writer with the Stafford County Sun (VA), and the host of a baseball history podcast, 'Baseball as It Was' (baseballasitwas.com). While attending Virginia Tech, Brian covered Frank Beamer's Hokie football teams - among other sports - for the school's daily campus newspaper. Follow Brian on Twitter (@BrianWright86).

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