Photo by Stephen Kline

A record crowd of 9,840 eager fans showed up to watch the George Mason Patriots take down the Old Dominion Monarchs 62-45 in a big conference game, extending their winning streak to nine. Junior Ryan Pearson led Mason in their win with a nice double-double, scoring 18 points pulling in 11 rebounds. The Patriots defense was a major factor in the win, holding the Monarchs to an awful 27 percent during the contest.

Although Mason faltered early in the game, allowing a 5-0 ODU run in the first 5 and a half minutes, a tip-in shot from Mike Morrison sparked the Patriot offense. A pair of lay-ups and a monster dunk got the Green and Gold back in the game.

With less than four minutes left in the first half, and the game tied at 19-19, Isaiah Tate scored a clutch 3-pointer that gave Mason the lead for the first time in the game. The Patriots shot well from long range, with Andre Cornelius again performing well (67 percent) and Cam Long dropping two from behind the arc.

The Patriot Center hosted a roaring crowd throughout the entire game, and it was easy to see the players brought everything they had. Tight defense by both teams scrapped for loose balls and rebounds, committing multiple fouls in the process. The two teams had a combined total of 38 fouls, with Mason shooting 11-20 from the stripe and the Monarchs going 14-18, one of the few factors that kept them in the game later on.

The contest was incredibly close during the first half of play, each team staying within five points of each other up until the break. The Green and Gold had a strong start to the second half, with star Cam Long dropping a nice transition basket with the assist from Mike Morrison, and then draining a perfect three to give the Patriots a decent lead. Mason again went for the deep ball, and when called upon, Andre Cornelius stepped up to action and made another crucial trey, gaining a lead of seven that only grew for the rest of the game.

Mason led by as much as 21 in what had initially seemed like a challenge, but the Monarchs simply could not handle the Patriots tough defense and speed on the fast break. The fans were certainly a factor, with a sell-out crowd roaring at every turn of the game, be it the alley-oop dunk from Cornelius to Morrison 5 minutes in, or Ryan Pearson’s dual free throws with less than two minutes left increasing the lead to more than 20. They were in it until the end, chants turning to taunts of “This-Is-Our House” and “Warm-Up-The-Bus!” once the Patriots win was clearly sealed.

This victory was important for Mason, staying tied for first in the CAA rankings with rival VCU, whom they play on the 15th in Richmond. Old Dominion is definitely hurt by the loss, getting their win streak snapped at four, and remaining stuck in third behind the Patriots and the Rams.

The Patriot win was not only seen by spectators, but by players too. Alumni greats that had played on the Mason basketball team from as far back as the 1960’s were present at the game, all the while cheering on their alma mater.
The win was well-deserved revenge after Mason’s previous loss to the Monarchs, who beat the Patriots by only four points in Norfolk. This is the twelfth home win in a row for the Green and Gold, who consistently seem to find success defending their turf here in Fairfax.