Toppled in Richmond

March 5, 2012   ·   2 Comments

by Cody Norman

Mason 64, VCU 74

It happened again.

For the fifth time in as many chances and the third time in three years, the Patriots were trumped by the VCU Rams in the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament in the Richmond Coliseum.

Photo credit: Stephen Kline

In the opening minutes of the first half, the Rams put together a 32-point onslaught in front of another sold out session that left the Patriots clawing for every basket. Bradford Burgess and Troy Daniels led the charge as VCU canned each of their first eight 3-point attempts, hitting Mason with a 32-4 deficit just nine minutes into the game.

“We weren’t ready to start,” Paul Hewitt said. “That falls on me. When they started hitting those threes, we should have made some adjustments.”

 

Postgame Press Conference: Paul Hewitt, Mike Morrison, Jonathan Arledge

 

But the Patriots fought back.

Led by Mike Morrison for a second straight night, Mason scratched their way to within striking distance and went into the break trailing 48-32. Morrison had 12 of his 20 total points in the first half, keeping the Patriots’ conference championship hopes alive with 20 minutes left to play.

“Our guys climbed out of [the deficit] because they played extremely hard,” Hewitt said. “They’re extremely committed. But it’s tough to defend live ball turnovers. And that really killed us.”

Morrison added: “One thing I credit my team with is that no matter how much we were down, we never stopped fighting. At no point in the game did we put our heads down and give up.”

To begin the second half, Hewitt ran Cornelius into the point guard role and put the ball in the hands of his senior guard for the remainder of the game. Cornelius knocked down several clutch 3-pointers, connecting on 4-of-10 total shots in an impressive 15-point effort.

“We just wanted to put some quickness on the ball,” Hewitt said. “That tempered their aggressiveness a little bit.”

Anchoring the Patriots’ defense, the two seniors held VCU to just 42 points in the final 30 minutes, outscoring the Rams 60-42 during that frame.

With help from a double-double performance by Jonathan Arledge, who finished the game with 10 points and 11 rebounds, Morrison, Cornelius and the Patriots closed the gap to seven points late in the second half and threatened to steal a victory despite the early deficit.

“Everybody had confidence in me – my teammates, the coaching staff, everybody,” Arledge said. “And that gave me confidence.”

Despite any effort made by Hewitt and his staff to get CAA Player of the Year Ryan Pearson involved offensively, the senior forward could not find his rhythm in Richmond and exited the weekend with just 10 total points, six of them coming in the loss on Sunday evening.

“We didn’t execute well in some of the sets where we tried to get him the ball,” Hewitt said. “But part of that falls on Ryan, too.”

After a few missed shots and unfortunate breaks, the Patriots were forced to play against the clock and couldn’t muster up one final run to close the game out and seal an impressive comeback victory, dropping their semifinal game by a final score of 74-64.

“I’m very proud of the way these guys fought back,” Hewitt said. “Give them credit for that.”

With the victory, VCU advances to the championship game where they will take on the regular season champions, the Drexel Dragons, at 7 p.m. in Richmond.

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Readers Comments (2)

  1. plenty of times! You can see HERE that she was the subject to my very first shoot! We had done mom’s itternmay shoot a couple days before but I snuck in a couple extras at this 3 year session as well. We went over to

    Reply »
    • Auth

      You do have skills my fnried but Roy does not envy you. This kid posted a very informative video; he has skills too. Your comment would have been surpass like this “excellent job homie!! I delight in making woodworking videos too, come check out some of my videos at blah blah blah”. I watched a couple of your videos and they were very impressive. the foreign language chatter turned me off though. Reckon you might post some in English?

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