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Patriots down Seahawks

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FAIRFAX,VA (UNCW sports release) -- George Mason opened the second half with a 9-0 run to
gain some breathing room and held on for a 67-61 victory over UNCW in a
Colonial Athletic Association men's basketball game Monday night at the
Patriot Center.
The Patriots won for the 10th time in 11 home games to improve to 16-5
overall and 8-1 in the CAA, maintaining a one-game lead in the conference
standings. The Seahawks now stand 8-11 in all games and 4-5 in the CAA.
"It was a close game and we had our chances," said second-year UNCW coach
Buzz Peterson. "We missed so many wide open shots. We had one of our best
defensive efforts in the first half, but got a little riled early in the
second half before we got the game back to where we needed it to be."
Senior forward Ryan Pearson, a preseason First-Team All-CAA pick, led the
Patriots and first-year skipper Paul Hewitt with 20 points and 12 rebounds.
Sophomore guard Bryon Allen added 17 points and senior center Mike Morrison
had 10 rebounds for GMU, which shot 48.4 percent in the second half after
struggling in the early going.
Freshman guard KK Simmons paced the Seahawks with 18 points and backcourt
mate Adam Smith contributed 15 markers. Junior forward Keith Rendleman was
limited to seven points and eight boards.
In the first of two meetings in 19 days between the two rivals, GMU trailed
most of the first half before inching out to a one-point edge at
intermission and using a big surge to open the second period for their
fourth straight win.
Pearson scored six of GMU's first nine points after intermission as the
Patriots created some separation after halftime. A dunk by Pearson with
18:53 gave the Patriots a 32-22 margin. The lead increased to 40-28 on a
floater in the lane by Aaron Cornelius with just under 16 minutes remaining.
GMU still led, 44-36, when UNCW made a move behind Smith. The rookie from
Jonesboro, Ga., scored seven points in a 9-3 spurt and he sank a pair of
free throws with 8:53 left to help the Seahawks creep to 44-43.
But Pearson scored on the next two possessions and Allen keyed a 9-2 spurt
that helped the Patriots push the margin back to 60-49 with just four
minutes remaining. UNCW could get no closer than five points the rest of the
way.
Both teams got off to a rocky start, struggling from the field and combining
for 17 turnovers in the first period. GMU scored the final six points of the
opening period to forge ahead, 23-22, at intermission.
UNCW wound up hitting just 25.7 percent on 9-for-35 from the floor in the
first 20 minutes, while GMU wasn't much better, making just 37.0 percent on
10-for-27. The Patriots also missed all six of their three-point field goal
attempts.
Simmons led all scorers with 10 points in the first half to keep the
Seahawks close. He drained the first of two triples at the 12:14 mark to
give UNCW a 13-8 lead and then added another trey with 5:09 left in the
first half to give UNCW its largest lead of the game, 20-13.
However, Pearson came alive in the final four minutes of the half to get
Mason going. With his team trailing, 20-13, the senior from Far Rockaway,
N.Y., scored on a baby hook and added a transition dunk to bring the
Patriots within, 20-17. After Aaron Cornelius converted both ends of a bonus
situation, Pearson slammed home another dunk following a Seahawk turnover in
the backcourt and the Patriots enjoyed a one-point advantage at the break.
The Seahawks return home Wednesday to entertain Old Dominion in a 7 p.m.
tip-off at Trask Coliseum. The Patriots travel to Hofstra Wednesday to
battle the Pride at 7 p.m. in Hempstead, N.Y.
GAME NOTES: UNCW now stands 30-39 against George Mason through the years.The
Seahawks are 8-19 at the Patriot Center.The Patriots have won eight straight
against the Seahawks.Buzz Peterson is still looking for his first win
against GMU.Both clubs had 13 turnovers.Mason went only 1-for-16 from the
three-point arc.UNCW was 9-for-25 from deep.GMU won the battle of the boards
with 44 rebounds.Both teams had 11 assists.Tanner Milson paced the Seahawks
with four assists...Attendance was 4,147.

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