Freshman guard Marcus Thornton scored a game and career-high 23 points on 7-of-13 from the floor, 4-of-6 from 3-point range and 5-of-6 from the free throw line to lead the W&M charge. Sophomore forward Tim Rusthoven added 11 points, while senior Quinn McDowell and sophomore Fred Heldring added seven points apiece. Junior guard Matt Rum led the Tribe on the glass with a career-best 10 rebounds.
After Mason scored the opening five points of the game, the Tribe stormed back with seven straight thanks to five points, including a 3-pointer, from Heldring. His lay-up at the 15:25 mark gave the College its first lead at 7-5. Following a Patriot 3-pointer, W&M went on a 13-2 run to take its largest lead. McDowell scored five straight points, before Thornton took over. The Upper Marlboro, Md., native knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers as part of eight straight points. His triple from the right wing forced a Mason timeout and gave the College a 20-10 advantage with 9:26 left in the opening half.
The W&M margin was seven, 27-20, following a pair of Thornton free throws at the 3:01 mark, before Mason closed the half on the run. The Patriots scored 10 straight points, highlighted by eight from Andre Cornelius. His fastbreak lay-up with just under a minute remaining gave the Patriots at 32-29 cushion. A Rusthoven tip-off in the final seconds closed the opening half with the Tribe trailing by a single point.
In the first 20 minutes, the College outrebounded Mason,
18-10, and shot 48 percent (12-of-25) from the field compared to 44 percent
(11-of-25) for the Patriots. Both teams knocked down five triples in the
opening half, but Mason was an impressive 5-of-8 (62.5 percent) from long
After closing the first half on a 10-2 run, the Patriots continued its spurt to start the second, scoring the opening 16 points. Reigning CAA Player of the Week Ryan Pearson scored six of the first eight points of the intermission before Vertrail Vaughns and Andre Cornelius each hit 3-pointers to extend the margin to 48-31 with 14:10 remaining.
The Mason lead jumped to its largest at 19 points, 63-44, following a Corey Edwards jumper, before W&M came charging back. Thornton started the a 9-0 run with a 3-pointer, before a Rum steal led to a fast-break lay-up for sophomore guard Julian Boatner. After Rusthoven scored on an offensive putback, Thornton pulled the Green and Gold to within 63-53 on a pair of free throws at the 3:03 mark. Mason was able to keep the Tribe at arm's length though by hitting 5-of-6 from the charity stripe over the final two minutes.
George Mason shot 56.5 percent (13-of-23) from the floor in the second half to finish at 50 percent (24-of-48) overall. The Patriots also connected on 47.1 percent (8-of-17) from 3-point range, while hitting 14-of-20 from the free throw line. W&M shot 46.8 percent (22-of-47) from the floor, but was just 6-of-20 from 3-point range and 6-of-10 from the free throw line. The Tribe also held a 28-24 advantage on the glass, but turned the ball over 18 times which led to 30 Patriot points.
Cornelius led Mason with 20 points on 7-of-10 from the floor and 5-of-8 from 3-point range. Senior forward Mike Morris finished with 14 points and six rebounds, while Pearson added 11 and sophomore guard Bryon Allen had 10 points and six assists.
The Tribe will continue it's three-game in six-day stretch with a pair of home games on Wednesday, Jan. 4, and Saturday, Jan. 7. The Green and Gold will welcome James Madison to Williamsburg on Wednesday for a 7 p.m. at Kaplan Arena. W&M will host Delaware on Saturday at 4 p.m. Fans can catch all the action over the Tribe Radio Network with Jay Colley, Bill McDonald and Charlie Woollum on the call. The Tide 92.3 FM in Williamsburg is the flagship station of the Tribe Radio Network and the broadcast can also be heard over the Internet at TribeAthletics.com. Fans can also purchase the live video stream for all Tribe home games at TribeAthletics.com.