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Patriots can't contain upstart Rams
George Mason plays Virginia Commonwealth


Date published: 1/25/2007

By MATT EPPERS

By MATT EPPERS

FAIRFAX--With last year's Final Four appearance on its resume, George Mason is the standard-bearer for midmajor potential. The Patriots ran into a team last night making one of the country's better efforts to be this season's George Mason.

Virginia Commonwealth shot 48 percent from the field last night, including a 60 percent clip from 3-point range, to down George Mason 75-62. The win was the Rams' eighth straight overall, eighth straight on the road and ninth straight within the conference. The Patriots saw their five-game winning streak come to an end.

VCU (17-3, 9-0 CAA), off to its best start in over 20 years, also became the first CAA team since 1992 to win its first nine conference games.

"I felt like our guys did a great job of coming in and playing to the caliber that we needed to, playing such a tough opponent in George Mason," said Rams' coach Anthony Grant. "Our guys did a great job of focusing."

Rams leading scorer B.A. Walker finished with a game-high 24 points. The sharpshooting senior, already the school's all-time leader in 3-pointers, hit 5-of-8 from long range. As a team, the Rams shot 12-of-20 from beyond the arc.

Jamal Shuler added 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting and hit three 3's. Jesse Pellot-Rosa had 14 points in 19 minutes before fouling out. Sophomore point guard Eric Maynor had 10 assists and 10 rebounds.

Junior guard Folarin Campbell led the Patriots with 19 points and nine rebounds. Forwards Daryl Monroe and Will Thomas each finished with 14 for George Mason (11-8, 5-4 CAA).

In contrast to the Rams' excellent outside shooting, the Patriots were just 5-of-17 from 3-point range.

"We were dealing with a team that, from the 3-point line, was shooting the ball extremely well coming into this game," Grant said. "We tried to put a focus on that."

During its five-game winning streak, George Mason shot 41 percent from 3-point range. It managed just 29 percent shooting from outside last night. The Patriots also did not help themselves from the free-throw line, where they made just 9-of-21.


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VCU 75, George Mason 62