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]