Virginia Commonwealth University started hot and George Mason looked lost as the Rams beat the Patriots 89-77 Saturday night in the Stuart C. Siegel Center.
Things got off to an intense start as the George Mason University Patriots ran onto the court during Bradford Burgess’s senior night framed jersey presentation. The standing ovation for Burgess was littered with boos towards the Patriots whose behavior all night was embarrassing in front of a national television audience on ESPN2.
After the game, Coach Smart commented, “we noticed it; we fed off it.” The Rams looked as if they were fueled by “anger,” as Bradford Burgess put it, and they put on one of their best shooting performances of the season. Troy Daniels broke the seal when he drained his first three-pointer, and George Mason looked frustrated against VCU’s HAVOC defense. Daniels and Burgess shot a combined 7-12 from 3-point range, and VCU’s defense grabbed 10 steals in the first half. At halftime VCU held a 43-27 lead.
Burgess wasted no time getting back to work in the second half. He drained a three-pointer on the first possession. He would end the second half with 18 points.
The Rams let up on defense in the second half and at times they stopped the press and played zone. George Mason on the other hand started pressing hard and VCU capitalized a few times in transition. Juvonte Reddic picked up where he left off in the Northern Iowa game, and he slammed down three wide open dunks assisted by beautiful passes from Briante Weber, Troy Daniels, and Bradford Burgess.
Burgess finished the night with a career high 31 points while Juvonte Reddic added 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Troy Daniels scored 17 points. The Ram’s offense looked spectacular and if they can get sophomore guard Rob Brandenberg going next weekend, the Rams will have a good shot at winning the CAA tournament.
Fueled by a whirlwind of emotions–including anger–Bradford Burgess set his career high during the Rams’ commanding victory. Burgess played inspired basketball. He scored off the catch, he created his own looks from range and he even scored on an isolation play. While Burgess might never play in the Siegel Center again, coach Smart commented after the game, “we’re not done and he’s not done.”
After the game fans stuck around to watch a tribute video for senior Bradford Burgess:
Bradford Burgess recorded his VCU record 104th win. He passes Joey Rodriguez, Brandon Rozzell, and Ed Nixon.
VCU set a school for regular season wins at 25.
VCU increased their Colonial Athletic Association record with their 18th consecutive sell-out.
Out of control Patriots
GMU’s 32 fouls weren’t just the result of their attempt to extend the game; the Patriots were frustrated.
It began with Vetrail Vaughn tackling Bradford Burgess on a breakaway dunk. Vaughn picked up the flagrant foul on the dangerous play but Burgess still only shot two free-throws. Vaughn stayed on the floor and continued to play after being asked to shake Burgess’s hand. Then Mike Morrison picked up a technical for hanging on the rim. Finally Ryan Pearson picked up a technical foul for excessively reacting in the face of a referee.
In his past three games against VCU, Mike Morrison has fouled out in an average of 21.6 minutes. His excessive reactions to calls in games is becoming almost as legendary as his inevitable disqualification.
George Mason continued to hack at the VCU players for the entirety of the game. If the two teams face off in the semi-finals of the CAA tournament, it will definitely be an intense and physical contest.
89 points is a season high for the Rams.
VCU went on a 12-0 run in only 91 seconds in the first half.
Three of Juvonte Reddic’s five career double-doubles have happened this month.
The Rams finish the season an impressive 13-1 at home.
VCU and GMU combined for 39 second-half fouls. The Patriots finished the game with a season high 32 fouls.
VCU now looks to win the CAA tournament next weekend in the Richmond Coliseum. The top four seeds get a bye on Friday, so #2 VCU will play the winner of #7 Northeastern and #10 William & Mary.
Saturday March 3rd. 6pm. #7 Northeastern or #10 William & Mary. Richmond Coliseum.