Patriots Drop Season Finale

February 26, 2012   ·   3 Comments

by Cody Norman

Mason 77, VCU 89

RICHMOND – As the Rams lined up to pose for a picture with Bradford Burgess on Senior Night, the Patriots emerged from the tunnel much to the demise of the sold out crowd inside the Siegel Center. Their unwanted presence in the background of the Rams’ photo drew a subtle exchange of words between the two rivals.

VCU had just been disrespected on their home floor. And they would not soon forget. 

“We noticed,” Shaka Smart said. “And we fed off of it.”

From the opening tip, Mason was a step slower than the active VCU defense. They turned the ball over 14 times in the first half, helping the Rams build a 16-point lead heading into the break. Point guard Bryon Allen and Corey Edwards had more turnovers (6) than the entire Rams’ roster in the first 20 minutes of play.

“I’m of the belief that they are the kind of team that is going to have those runs,” Hewitt said. “But, if you hang in there, you’re going to give yourselves a chance.”

The second half, however, carried a much different tune.

Mason outscored their opponents 50-46 in the half, chipping away at a sizeable deficit and pulling within 11 points on several different occasions. But, just when the Patriots would find a rhythm, they’d fall victim to a tough break and see their deficit build back up to 16 or 18 points.

“The second half did a better job,” Hewitt said. “We had a couple chances to get back into the game, but a couple technical fouls kind of killed our momentum.”


Postgame Press Conference Paul Hewitt

Postgame Press Conference Ryan Pearson

Postgame Press Conference Shaka Smart

Postgame Press Conference Troy Daniels & Darius Theus

Postgame Press Conference Bradford Burgess

Photo Gallery — Mason 77, VCU 89


Seniors Mike Morrison and Ryan Pearson were both called for technical fouls, once for hanging on the rim and the other for protesting a call, respectively.

Falling by 12 points, the Patriots played at a heavy disadvantage from the charity stripe. They were whistled for 12 more fouls, allowing VCU to shoot 47 free throws in comparison to the Patriots’ 28 attempts.

“We fouled them,” Hewitt said. “I thought we could have done a much better shot defensively, moving our feet. But we fouled them. That’s why the numbers were so off.”

Three Patriots recorded double-figures in the scoring column, as Pearson led the way with another solid 24-point, 9-rebound outing. Morrison contributed 10 points and nine rebounds while Sherrod Wright continued his strong play off the bench, scoring 11 points in 25 minutes.

Mason finished the evening with 20 turnovers and just 10 assists, despite allowing 17 assists and seven total turnovers for the Rams.

With the loss, Mason fell to the third seed in this weekend’s CAA Tournament back down in Richmond. They will play the winner of Georgia State and Hofstra on Saturday night with the potential to face off for a third time this season against the VCU Rams.



Back in October, the Atlantic-10 conference expressed informal interest in adding Mason and VCU to their conference. As talks between Temple and the Big East conference heat up, so have rumors about both CAA rivals joining  La Salle, Dayton and Rhode Island in the A-10.

“Rumors are rumors,” said Tom O’Connor, Assistant Vice President and Director of Athletics. “There’s a lot of disinformation out there.”

The New York Times reported in October that Hofstra president Stuart Rabinowitz had reached out informally to A-10 members Charlotte, Richmond and George Washington to gauge their interest in joining the CAA, citing two people with knowledge of the talks.

“About six months ago, we talked as a league about expanding rather than having anybody leaving,” O’Connor said. “Stability is one of the strongest parts about our league.”

Despite the rumors, O’Connor insists that the CAA and Ivy League are the “most stable” conferences in the country.

“We seem to all like each other,” O’Connor said. “We seem to all have the same philosophy. When we talk about the future, we talk it about it being together.”

Without an offer on the table from the A-10, O’Connor would not speculate on the potential to move conferences. He did, though, seem confident in the conference’s ability to remain stable with the 12 teams currently in the conference.

“There’s really no need to [move conferences] right now,” O’Connor said.

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Readers Comments (3)

  1. Wawan

    I’m sorry that your Rams didn’t get to the Championship. I was rooting for them. UK didn’t get in thieer, and TRUST me, I was rooting for them. Now I hope that Butler beats UConn. I don’t know if I’m going to watch the game or not. We usually watch something else during that time.

    Reply »
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