Sherrod Wright’s buzzer beater lifts George Mason over VCU

I’ll admit it, I called it game over late in the second half when the Patriots coughed up the ball at a critical moment.  I should have realized that this Mason team is prepared for a game just like this. Ugly, scrappy, and gritty right until the end, with the occasional big shot here and there. The Rams kept making free-throws during the final minute, then Ryan Pearson hit a three-pointer to cut the lead to two.  Follow that up with a Vertail Vaughns three-pointer, boy did he pick a good night to make a comeback, and Mason was within one.  Briante Weber went to the foul line and missed the first. Pearson was the inbound passer after Weber made the second and tried to get it into Bryon Allen who was covered. Tip-toeing down the baseline he almost stepped over the line before he hurled the ball into Sherrod Wright. The rest is history as Wright was the hero again. Last week I called him “Mr. Under 5-minutes”, now I think just plain “Mr. Clutch” will do.

Here are four different angles of Wright’s game-winning shot from CSN:




Ryan Pearson and Vertrail Vaughns really kept Mason in this game despite a night full of mistakes.  Seniors Mike Morrison and Andre Cornelius were total non-factors, combining for three points.  Mike Morrison couldn’t stay in the game and threw one of this patented temper tantrums after picking up his fourth foul in the second half. Luckily guys like Sherrod Wright were able to come off the bench and produce. Even Paris Bennett had his moments last night on the boards. Erik Copes also had two monster blocks taking full advantage of the extra minutes he received with Morrison in foul trouble.  



VCU got 10 steals last night and Mason turned it over 16 times.  Some were worse than others and I really thought it would be their undoing in the final moments of the game.  Corey Edwards dribbled into some bad situations but overall I thought he and Bryon Allen did a decent job running the offense.  



I don’t think there is any doubt that Ryan Pearson is the CAA’s best player. Going up against another CAA player of the year candidate Bradford Burgess, he simply looked like a man among boys durng key moments. Burgess hit some big shots last night but Pearson carried the Patriots and would not be denied.



[Photos by John Powell]

College Basketball

  • Dan

    Where does Sherrod Wright’s shot rank in the top 50?

  • Moses

    An amazing game. I don’t believe they played anywhere near their best and won anyway. 

    @ Ryan, Mo was not a non factor and focused his efforts on defense and had a decent game. His late charge call was a poor call and I missed the tantrum. I’ve been a critic of his but I believe he contributed a lot- helping with the ball, rebounding, giving good fouls. Copes is huge coming off the bench. He was hyped up and needs to settle down offensively but was a big lift on the boards.I am so proud of the students for showing in a big way. As for my neighbors in the good seat/season ticket section- the biggest bunch of tools I’ve ever come across. Have of them weren’t there for the biggest game of the year. The half that do show up know nothing about the game and start screaming at Hewitt every time there is a miscue. Effing douche bags. Refs overall called a good game. Grey can shoot it. Acorn disappears against quality teams and needs to come off the bench for D, that’s it. Sherrod is money. Pearson is so tough to defend and rebounds like Barkley. 

  • Christopher Hirsch

    Wasn’t pleased with Edwards turnover at the end of the game and I assume that’s the play you are talking about when you thought it was over. Announcers were saying he was in because Allen had cramps but Allen was right back in after that turnover.

    Ryan is definitely CAA POY, and it was great to see Copes make his presence felt last night. It was a lot of turnovers but we kind of all expected that going in, VCU plays great pressure defense.

    The game doesn’t mean anything but hope we avoid a letdown when we play Lamar on Saturday. Have two tough conference games left, Northeastern isn’t good but Mason can’t take any game for granted, especially on the road, then of course the huge one with VCU. William and Mary almost beat Drexel last night which would have been huge, have to hope ODU beats them in the finale if we want that one seed.

  • Good

    Great game and the best efforts from the patriots !  Go Mason!  

  • Kcup

    Awesome win. I wish the administration would allow us to storm the court! Come on Mason lets students celebrate an awesome win. Other schools do it all the time and no one gets hurt!

  • Anotherview

    Great game for the fans, but you can see why these two teams don’t belong in the NCAA tourney. GMU is the more accomplished team in basketball skills, but both teams play remarkably bad basketball despite their records.

    VCU plays like a high school team filled with football players — lots of athleticism, but not much in the way of basketball skills. Other than Burgess none of the VCU players can shoot. What they can do, is foul and foul some more. Smart has developed the ideal system for exploiting weak officiating. Simply dare the officials to call all the fouls. Of course they won’t. They won’t even insist that the coach stay in the coaching box.

    For those fans who continue to harbor hopes for the NCAA tourney, this was probably the least important match-up between these two teams. The game in Richmond will be somewhat more important, but the one that really matters would be a matchup in the CAA tournament. The key will be which team learns the most about the opposition and adjusts accordingly. It was probably encouraging that VCU’s pressure had less impact as the game went on.

  • gmuhoops

    You DO NOT rush the court when you beat a conference opponent that you are currently tied with in the standings. That’s bush league.

  • http://twitter.com/BrianSPatterson Brian Patterson

    Great game, probably the most exciting Mason game I’ve been to since the win over UConn at the Verizon Center.  A couple of observations:

    1.  Paris Bennet provided some quality minutes to get Pearson rest.  He got an offensive board put back, a couple other rebounds, and forced a steal.  I can’t help but think that those minutes gave Ryan legs at the end of the game when they needed that big 3.

    2.  What happened to Jonathan Arledge?  He had been getting descent minutes, I thought, until last night.  Other than the walk-ons, he was the only player who didn’t see any action.  Is he injured?  Or in the dog house?

    3.  Like Moses said, the turnout from season ticket holders was embarrassing. But I wouldn’t say the ones that showed don’t know anything about basketball.  Thats stupid.

  • mooky_l3d

    The last 33-34 seconds should be in the top 10.  Sherrod’s shot alone should be top 5.  Just my opinion.  That was an amazing game.

  • Fuckyourself

    ^your a pussy

  • Matt

    Either team playing at their best would be good for the NCAA, who would you rather bunch of 5-7 teams from power conferences.  The game will be less important then the tourney-duh-but it sets a tone, adds confidence, povides energy. 

  • Matt

    Crazy game.

    Positives: We were clutch when we needed to be in the final 1:44.  We got contributions from our guards-Wright, Gray, Allen, VV.  Bennet was solid as well.  This team never looked rattled or frustrated (exclude Mo).

    I was definitely confused as to how Burgess was alone for both threes at the end of the game.  That how we got in the hole and it seemed it was Ryan’s coverage??  We were packed in the lane and let the best guy take virtually uncontested 3’s!

    Video from four angles of the winner was sweet to see how everyone celebrated.  This hopefully is a spark to turn it up for the remainder of the season.  All these games are important because the set a tone and Lamar is the last home game and senior night (afternoon).  Plus if others slip and we don’t we control what we can!

    Mason was offering $6 tickets to the VCU road game, hope they still are!

  • Buddy

    Couldn’t agree more. What is this, Maryland?

  • Rmjank

    These teams don’t belong?  That’s not what the national press is saying.  I think everyone’s starting to recognize that the CAA leaders had early season miscues that will darken their tourney resumes but that they are of tourney calibre.  As for your second paragraph, I think that pretty much defines the athletic endeavor of virtually every sport: compete within the rules, exploit until the officiating says you’ve crossed the line.  You and I must have watched different games.  The one I watched had two talented and relentless teams bringing it for 40 minutes.

  • Chris Hill
  • StopWearingPurple

    The Mason players have worked their butts off all year long, even in the ugly wins.  Last night was the pay off.  I couldn’t be happier for them and for us. 

    I wasn’t sure if this team could make much noise even if they made the NCAA tourney.  But now, if they continue to win these hard fought game and make the tourney, they could be a very dangerous team.

  • Patriot74

    A game for the ages. Glad I was there to see it in person.

  • CommonLink87

    WOW. Still buzzing from the game last night. Safe to say Wright is the new Mr. Clutch!
    Copes is straight nasty on the defensive side of the ball, his presence on that end is awesome to watch. I love great defensive players in any sport, guys who get into the offense’s head, and Copes is definitely that. VV did pick a heck of a night to heat up. Great Game.

  • Rmjank

    I will add that there’s “probable cause” that the ref’s call against Mo was vindictive.  A moment before, Mo gestured in complaint that he had been pushed.  Then he got the ball, and if you ask me the official looked “stoked” to make a call against him.  Not trying to darken any celebration here after a great game — I just think it is what it is — yet another lesson for Mike to keep his attitude in check — even if the ref can’t manage to do the same.

  • Moses

    Just the one’s around me. I’m not Bob Knight, but they haven’t a clue as to what they’re seeing and they scream at Hewitt as soon as things get a little sideways. I guess they pay for the privilege to do that but they are generally ignorant and relentlessly negative. I’ve been listening to this stuff for years. It gets old. As for storming the court, I didn’t like it but I’ll take that over the apathy of not so long ago. Good to see the kids fired up and good to see them drown out the VCU faithful.

  • StopWearingPurple

    Agree.  Act like you’ve been there and like you expect to be there again.  The replays that show the stands going nuts are awesome.

  • http://twitter.com/firedancerk8 Kathryn

    I admit it too – I had counted them out too although I waited until Burgess hit that 3 pointer. Then I just wanted it to be over. I had already written my capitulation tweet “Great game… see you guys on the 25th in Richmond.” The second half was so ugly I just didn’t want to watch the end, but I’m glad that I did. Coming into this season I didn’t have high hopes for the team (new coach, Long and Hancock gone, pretty young team) but I am so happy that they continue to pull it out and surprise us all when it counts.

    I’ve got tickets to the game in Richmond on the 25th. Can’t wait – it’s going to be crazy/ugly and I plan on loving every minute.

    Agree with others on the lack of turnout in those season ticket holder seats. Downright SAD to see those empty seats! What a shame.

  • FearTheBeard24

    Big shot brad? its BIG SHOT SHERROD TIME!!

  • GMURULES

    This game over VCU, because it was VCU, was even more amazing!!!  2nd best game to the UConn game, in last 10-20 years, maybe ever.  The crowd, for the lack of sellout was loud.  Props to the student section, they really showed up and stayed loud.  Season Ticket holders that did not show I am sure going to say late game and valentines day.  Lame, very lame. I loved being at the game. It is 2:45 and I am in Richmond for a meeting and I am still jacked.  This was a mirror image of the ODU game in that, boy was it an ugly win, but any win over VCU or ODU is GREAT!  This will help ease my memory of Eric Manard (sp?) now that we have a clutch victory in big game.  It was not the CAA tourney, but man, it was sweet.

    3 quick sidenotes:  How is Pearson not CAA POY?  He slumped a little midseason, but he has carried this team on his back.

    Bennett, has taken Arledge’s minutes I believe.  Arledge struggled vs ODU and Bennett has showed he can step up and be a glue guy for us.

    I sat next to the band director of VCU and his 3 friends last night.  I was plesently surprised as they were very knowledgeable on hoop and we shared analysis of each team, friendly and respectful.  I was not aware there were any VCU fans like this, LOL.

    GREAT GAME and one for the ages!!!  GO PATRIOTS!  They sure have grown up right before out eyes.

  • mooky_l3d

    Some things that should looked at for the next meeting…..

    Guards don’t dribble the ball up the court to the sides when being pressed.
    Guards don’t dribble the ball up the court to the sides and then spin to the middle.
    You have to guard all VCU players from the 3 point line in except Reddick and Haley.
    They make mistakes and do miss a lot of shots.
    Offensive rebounds are good.
    Defensive rebounds are really good.
    The press is not impenetrable.
    Havoc does what it says when you let it.

    The things that I learned from Mason last night is…….

    We are fighters to the end pretty or not.  Sherrod Wright is a balla till the end (especially at the end).  GO MASON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jacobcoach1

    It wasnt Ryan coverage the lineup was small at the time with pearson, wright, allen, vetrail & gray. ryan was guarding the center. i think they became confused because this is the first time i have seen this lineup all year

  • Joe

    That teletubby is so nuts

  • BoredInClass

    He’s my roommate haha

  • BoredInClass

    If you all remember, Louis Birdsond played a huge role in our win over VCU at home 2 years ago, last night Paris did the same.. Just a coincidence. 

  • Chris Nguyen

    Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. MiMo flailed his arms (which the ref may not have appreciated, as it was a quick whistle after the subsequent contact) as there was some contact as the guys were jostling for position. Copes was great filling in though, as he just concentrated on rebounding & def and didn’t take any awkward shots as he did @ UNCW

  • Chris Nguyen

    I think they were still working on Allen when Edwards had the TO.
    As for Pearson, there’s always a statement game that cements one’s status, and this was Pearson’s, he was very steady and only took a couple of bad three’s, which, in hindsight, were obviously just for practice as he hit the first of GMU’s 3 three-pointers in that 30-sec barrage…

  • Theresa

    I’m a season ticket holder and I was at the game last night.  I was slightly disappointed in the amount of empty seats in the sth areas as well but unfortunately the late start time of the game and it being Valentines Day didn’t help plus the game was on tv which is a good excuse for some to stay home and watch it on tv and not have to fight the traffic getting there plus the aggravation of finding a parking space for those of us who don’t give enough to the Patriot Club to get a spot in their special parking area and have to fight for a close parking space or heck any parking space at all.  The family who sits next to me had to miss the game because their son had been sick for the last week and was on antibiotics but they managed to find two friends to use their tickets and their parents didn’t come because her mother had been sick earlier in the week/went to the doctor and they decided to stay in and watch the game on tv.  Keep in mind there are a lot of bugs going around right now and a lot of people are getting sick with all of the crazy weather changes.  Plus a lot of the sth are seniors and probably don’t stay up that late at night normally.  Just remember not everyone that goes to the games lives in Fairfax….I spent an hour getting there in traffic from Alexandria myself.  I personally wouldn’t have missed it for the world since it was by far the biggest game of the season as even though I have been sick for two days with a bad cold/sinuses that kept me from cheering due to my constant coughing, sore throat and stuffed up nose but I made up for it with my clapping and standing up for the team after big plays.  I sit in the section right behind the bench where the families of the team, cheerleaders and masonettes sit and I will tell you we are all very knowledgeable about basketball.

  • Sh

    Watched it on TV. 9pm is too late for the junior members of this STH household. Very sad to miss the game live…:(. Fabulous game!

  • Taylormade703

    It’s not lame.  It’s called handing you responsibilities as an adult.  Now if it was “I didn’t go to the game because the Justin Beiber concert was on TV” that would, indeed, be extremely “lame”! :)

  • Gio

    Amazing game, amazing finish. So I left with 24 seconds left cuz I had quite a long walk to my car and I heard the place explode. I check my phone and I couldn’t believe it. Was jumping around screaming in the parking lot like a mad man. Won’t forget this one anytime soon. Go Mason!!

  • overrated14

    Great Win for Mason-As Luck Would Have It.  Very exciting.  But really, what was the deal with the President and the game ball.  It was a regular season conference game; not a tournament, not a  season title…i guess he got caught up in the moment. 

  • Charlie T

    First for me it was a great Birthday gift. Been involved in basketball in every way for 60 years and have never seen a game like that. Just checked the play by play time line and I could be wrong but VCU had 11 points on field goals for the last 12 minutes while we had 11 in 30 seconds. I know there has been last second shots but what went on in the last 2 minutes will last a lifetime. Now comes what may be the hard part for perhaps both teams. For us we are happy but once again we toyed with mistakes at critical times. Had we lost this site would be filled with comments regarding those. Do we now act like we can relax in any of the remaining games and wait for someone or something to bail us out or do we act like everyone we are playing is VCU and we are behind with 2 minutes to go. As for them Friday may tell something on how they react. They are a unusual team in that their defense is really their offense. Yes it was just a game within the 18 and it was not a tournament game but it could and should put us on a track towards the NCAA Tournament.

  • Moses

    That is one of the funniest posts I’ve ever read. Awesome.

  • Matt

    He’s at the end of his tenure, this was one of two home games left and probably the better of the 2.  Merton’s been a legit fan of this program and suffered the VCU stingers with us.  He’s been good to GMU, he can act a fool all he wants, it’s all good to me.

  • Matt

    True on the mistakes, there were plenty of soft passes, poor positioning of the ball, reaction to the zone, and leaving Burgess open at the end.  But in that last two minutes they were clutch.  Good motivator for the rest of the season!

  • GMURULES

    Taylormade,  I had an early meeting in Richmond the next day and I was there on time.  I handle my job, kids and other “adult” responsibilities just fine.  This was VCU on our home court, not W&M.  Lame is applicable.

  • http://twitter.com/BrianSPatterson Brian Patterson

    I have 2 little kids also… we put the kids to bed and got a babysitter to come over and watch TV.  If its important to you, you find a way.  If its not, you don’t.  Its that simple.

  • Taylormade703

    Surely you are not implying that anybody who was not at the game Tuesday is somehow not a true Mason fan.

  • GMURULES

    I am sure everyone who did not show is still a Mason fan.  My point is, we were playing VCU at home for a share of the conference.  I thought the place should have been sold out.  Lots of guys saying it was V Day so I cannot come.  Or it is late, I cannot come. Again, VCU, not UNCW.  We want the university to step up and do practice facility, but we cannot show for the biggest game of the year, at least one person from a household?  I was fortunate to be able to make it. You prioritized differently, but you may be a single dad and not have support at home.  I don’t know your situation, but saying you had “adult” responsibilities, implying we did not, well………

  • Taylormade703

    I said “handling you(r) responsiblities as an adult”, not “adult responsibilities”.  Two totally different things.  Now I would have much preferred going to the game (even if it was Towson, which, by the way, I attended), but, in my individual situation, I had to weigh the positives of going (having fun) versus the negatives (being worthless at work the next day).

    I never said others others did not have “adult” responsibilities.  Nor did I imply, in any way, shape or form that anybody at the game was neglecting other responsibilities.  I took issue with the implication that those not at the game were somehow not “real” (my word, not yours) Mason fans.  I know many fellow alumni and Patriot Club members who were not at the game, not because we said “nah, I don’t feel like it, whatever”, but because we legitimately had other business to take care of. 

  • Taylormade703

    I just need clarification: Are you saying Mason basketball isn’t important to anybody who wasn’t in attendance Tuesday?  Because that’s what it sounded like.

  • GMURULES

    I hear you and well said.  I have said, to others, we got a little hosed on scheduling.  9:00 game on V Day and they get us on a Saturday at 6. that stinks.  Who said being an adult was fun anyways?  We all wanted this as kids and now we are and have to miss out on fun things.  All good brotehr.  I fortunately was able to make it  this time. Could be different on another game.  

  • http://twitter.com/ThunderObsessed Thunder Obsessed

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