So far, so good for George Mason. The Patriots look well on their way to a share of the CAA title, as they used a fast start and a fast finish to take a 34-19 lead on Virginia Commonwealth at halftime on the road.
George Mason closed the half on a 13-2 run, taking a double-digit lead on two plays. First, Mike Morrison slammed a lob pass from Luke Hancock with 1:04 left to go in the half, and then Vertrall Vaughns hit a three-point shot at the buzzer, silencing a stunned VCU crowd.
Vaughns leads the Patriots with 12 points off the bench on 4-5 shooting from three-point range. Rob Brandenberg leads VCU with eight.
The Patriots raced out to a fast start, unfazed by the Virginia Commonwealth crowd. VCU scored the first bucket of the game before the Patriots ripped off 11 straight to take the crowd out of it. A three-pointer by Andre Cornelius and a reverse layup out of an out-of-bounds play by Cam Long gave the Patriots an 11-2 lead before the first TV timeout.
Virginia Commonwealth got the energy back, thanks mostly to a full-court press that disrupted the Patriots rhythm. A three-pointer by Brandenberg cut George Mason's lead to 19-15 with 8:23 left, but George Mason eventually took control again.
The half was marred by an intentional foul by Branden Rozzell of VCU on a breakaway dunk by Isaiah Tate. Rozzell shoved Tate in the back as he went up, causing a miss, but also causing Tate to fly off-balanced. Tate was not hurt, but he was visibly shaken and missed both free throws after an intentional foul was called.