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VCU hosts George Mason in A-10 opener, wins 71-57

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George Mason University followed Virginia Commonwealth into the Atlantic 10 Conference this year after seeing the Colonial Athletic Association being depleted. The Patriots are playing their first A-10 game tonight against their in-state rivals the VCU Rams. There's a long archive of games to refer to when seeking story lines. George Mason sort of replaces Temple, UNC-Charlotte and Butler who left as a wind is blowing these days and teams are flying everywhere. As I said George Mason is an in-state rival: their campus is just two hours drive from VCU in Fairfax, Virginia. The overall results between the two teams shows VCU leading the rivalry 31-18.

George Mason University Patriots @ Virginia Commonwealth Rams, January 9, 2014 7 P.M.

George Mason opened the game with a starting five of forwards Johnny Williams and Jalen Jenkins and guards Marquise Moore, Sherrod Wright and Bryon Allen. VCU's starting five were forwards Juvonte Reddic, Jordan Burgess and Treveon Graham and guards Briante Weber and Rob Brandenburg.

Visiting George Mason scored first in the game on a layup by Marquise Moore at 19:22. They established their largest first half lead of five points (10-5) at 16:07. VCU didn't get their first lead until much later in the opening half and held its largest lead of three points (35-32) just before the half ended at 1:39. At halftime VCU led George Mason 35-34 with the Patriots scoring the last bucket of the half to cut the lead to one point.

VCU saw its first lead (24-22) at 6:07 of the first half on a three-pointer by Melvin Johnson.

In the second half VCU added to its lead early on establishing a solid single-digit lead that wasn't seriously challenged the entire half. VCU continued to go to the foul line a lot in the second half; both teams shot field goals in the mid-30% range late into the second half and each team had trouble even launching three-pointers.

At the final television timeout (under four minutes left) VCU led 61-52. Each team only had one double-figure scorer by the final television timeout. Treveon Graham for VCU and Bryon Allen for George Mason were the two. All told there were four double-digit scorers in the game. Bryon Allen (13 points) and Johnny Williams (10 points) led the Patriots; Treveon Graham (15 points) and Briante Weber (12 points) led the VCU Rams.

VCU was fouled 27 times by George Mason and went to the line a lot going 28-39 from the free throw line. George Mason was fouled 16 times by VCU and went 9-16 from the line.

Neither team shot well in this bruising game with VCU shooting the lower percentage of the two teams by going 20-59 in field goals. The Patriots weren't much better shooting 23-62 from the field. VCU was 3-12 from three-point range in the game to George Mason who was 2-11. GMU didn't hit a three-pointer in the first half (0-4) while VCU didn't make one in the second half ( 0-6.)

Juvonte Reddic had a near double-double with nine points and 11 rebounds. Briante Weber had five steals in the game out of VCU's total of 13 steals. VCU committed 10 turnovers while the Patriots had 19.

VCU established its largest lead of the game of 14 points with under a minute to play in the game.

VCU outscored George Mason in both halves of the game: they won the first half 35-34 and the second half 36-23.

George Mason shot 50% (15-30) in the first half and 25% (8-32) in the second half. VCU shot 10-24 in the first half (41.7%) and 10-35 (28.6%) in the second half.

VCU added five points to its lead after the last television timeout and won going away, 71-57.

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