Williamsburg - Despite four players in double figures, the William and Mary men’s basketball team dropped a televised Saturday matinee to George Mason, 85-69, at Kaplan Arena. The Green and Gold led for much of the opening 20 minutes, but the Patriots, who shot 53.6 percent on the day, used a 12-point run over the close of the first half and start of the second half to take control of the contest. W&M falls to 6-16 overall and 2-9 in CAA play, while George Mason won its seventh straight to improve to 17-5 on the year and 9-2 in league action.
Junior forward Quinn McDowell led the Tribe with 16 points, including a trio of 3-pointers, to go along with eight rebounds. Freshman guard Brandon Britt tallied 14 points, while senior forward Marcus Kitts just missed a double-double with 12 points and eight rebounds. Sophomore guard Matt Rum scored 10 points off the bench knocking down a pair of 3-pointers to go along with a team-best three assists.
After a Julian Boatner 3-pointer gave the College a 3-2 lead just over a minute into the contest, Mason scored nine straight points, including seven from Luke Hancock, to gain an eight-point cushion, 11-3, at the 16:45 mark.
The Green and Gold offense came to life with a 12-2 run to retake the one-point lead. A McDowell triple got the run started, while Rum scored four straight points, including a pair from the free throw line. After a driving lay-up from sophomore Kyle Gaillard narrowed the gap to one, McDowell hit a jumper off a dish from junior Kendrix Brown to put W&M on top 14-13 with 13:04 remaining in the opening half.
W&M answered a five-point Mason spurt with one of its own to maintain its one-point cushion, 19-18, following a Britt 3-pointer. The team traded buckets, before the Green and Gold lead reach its most at 28-24 following a 3-pointer from the left wing by Gaillard off a nice drive and kick from McDowell.
The Tribe lead was three, 35-32, following a Gaillard driving lay-up at the 3:33 mark, before a deep Andre Cornelius 3-pointer from the top of the key tied the game at 35. W&M momentarily regained the lead on an offensive putback by Brown, but Mason closed the half on a 7-0 run capped by a Cam Long NBA-range 3-pointer at the halftime horn. The Patriots took the momentum and a 42-37 lead into the locker room. Both teams finished the opening 20 minutes shooting better than 50 percent from the field as W&M hit 50 percent on the number (13-of-26), while Mason shot 57.1 percent (16-of-28).
Mason pushed the lead to double-digits with the first five points of the second stanza. In total, the Patriots scored nine of the half’s first 12 points and led 51-40 at the 15:51 mark following a Luck Hancock jumper in the paint.
W&M twice closed to six points over the next five minutes, and on both occasions had a 3-point chance to narrow the margin to a single possession, but came up short in each instance. Rum drilled a triple from the left wing to close to 52-46, and on ensuing Tribe possession had another good look from long range to close the gap but it was off the mark. A driving lay-up by Gaillard at the 13:25 mark cut the deficit to 54-48, and this time McDowell had a look at three to narrow the margin to three, but he too was off the mark.
George Mason responded with nine of the game’s next 10 points to put the contest out of reach. Long scored four straight points, before Isaiah Tate converted a 3-point play the old fashion way. A Johnny Williams jumper from the right elbow at the 10:58 mark gave Mason a 63-49 cushion. W&M pulled to within 11 points on two occasions the rest of the way, but could not get any closer.
Mason finished the game hitting on 53.6 percent (30-of-56) from the field and 86.4 percent (19-of-22) from the free throw line. W&M shot the ball well from both the field and 3-point range, hitting on 46.2 percent (24-of-52) and 47.4 percent (9-of-19), respectively. W&M held a 30-27 advantage in the rebounding department led by eight from both McDowell and Kitts.
Long led all scorers and five Mason players in double figures with 20 points. Hancock chipped in 17 points to go along with four assists, while Ryan Pearson added 15 points and seven rebounds. Cornelius and Tate rounded out the double-digit scores with 13 and 10 points, respectively.
The Tribe will hit the road to play its next two CAA contests. The Green and Gold treks to Harrisonburg, Va., to face James Madison on Wednesday, Feb. 2, for a 7 p.m. tip-off at the Convocation Center. The game will be televised on Comcast SportsNet-Mid Atlantic and The Comcast Network Philadelphia. W&M fans can catch the action on the Tribe Radio Network with Jay Colley, Bill McDonald and Charlie Woollum on the call. The Tide 92.3 FM in Williamsburg is the flagship station of the Tribe Radio Network, and the live audio feed will be available at TribeAthletics.com.