by Bobby Bancroft

Three weeks after a successful opening debut at George Mason, Coach Paul Hewitt notched his first win in the CAA as the Patriots held on to beat Towson 65 – 53 at the Towson Center on Saturday night.

George Mason (6-2, 1-0) raced out to an early 14 point lead after a Bryon Allen layup made the score 21 – 7 just six minutes into the contest.  Allen, who regained his spot in the starting lineup after the injury to Corey Edwards, made his second consecutive start.  All five starters scored during the initial run.

The Tigers (0-7, 0-1) answered with a mini-run of their own to cut the lead in half after Will Adams came in off the bench to drill the first of his two three-pointers of the game to make the score 24 – 17 with just under 10 minutes to go until halftime.

Over the next 27 minutes, a period that included both halves, the Patriots maintained a steady working margin between twelve and seven points until Towson finally broke the pattern and cut it to five on a Marcus Damas three pointer with 3:13 left in the game.

“We kept getting up around 10 or so and then be it a TV timeout or something, we would want to extend the lead and it kept going back down,” Patriots forward Mike Morrison said about not being able to blow open the game.

George Mason immediately responded with a dunk by Sherrod Wright and then a timely three-pointer from Vertrail Vaughns to push the game out of reach.  Vaughns, who had missed his previous 14 attempts dating back to Nov. 21 against Brown, connected on his sixth and final attempt against the Tigers.

Morrison and Ryan Pearson led the Patriots with 14 points apiece.

For the first time in eight games this season, all five starters reached double digits as Vaughns hit for 12, Wright had 11 and Allen added 10.

Another first for the Patriots was the lack of bench production.

Coach Hewitt used ten players but only gave double digit minutes to just six Patriots, down from the previous low of eight.  George Mason reserves combined for just four points on 1-of-11 shooting from the field.

Damas led the Tigers with 25 points, more than double his average of eleven coming into the game.

Up Next:  George Mason travels to Charlottesville on Tuesday to take on Virginia at 7pm at John Paul Jones Arena in a game that can be seen live on ESPN3.

Patriots Notes:  Corey Edwards should be available against Virginia.  The freshman point guard has missed two straight games after suffering a concussion in practice last week.  George Mason is back to playing non-conference opponents until CAA rival William & Mary visits the Patriot Center on January 2nd.


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