After losing the scrap for a piece of first place in the Colonial Athletic Association, George Mason’s classy head coach, Jim Larranaga, said it plainly to a roomful of reporters: “Eric Maynor took over … he’s one heck of a basketball player.” Eric Maynor scores two of his 28 points on this first half floater. Before […]
After losing the scrap for a piece of first place in the Colonial Athletic Association, George Mason’s classy head coach, Jim Larranaga, said it plainly to a roomful of reporters: “Eric Maynor took over … he’s one heck of a basketball player.”
Eric Maynor scores two of his 28 points on this first half floater.
Before a sellout Siegel Center crowd (7,594) and a national television audience (ESPN2) the Virginia Commonwealth University Rams, led by Maynor’s 28 points and six assists, defeated the visiting Patriots on Saturday: VCU 76, Mason 71.
VCU sophomore forward/center Larry Sanders scored 15 points and pulled down seven rebounds. Junior forward Kirill Pishchalnikov chipped in 11 points and six boards.
“This was a great battle tonight,” VCU head coach Anthony Grant said. “Anytime you have that type of fight, that type of competition that was going on today, both teams are going to make runs. It’s how you answer those runs that determines your ability to win.”
It took Maynor a while to get his scoring game going, his first points came on a layup with 6:44 remaining in the first half. He scored eight points in the game’s last four minutes.
With today’s work Maynor, a senior point guard, passed Edmund Sherod (1978-81) to become VCU’s all-time assist leader. Sherod had 582; Maynor now has 587.
Sophomore guard Cam Long scored 24 points to lead the Patriots (14-5, 7-2 in CAA) attack. Senior guard Dre Smith added 16 points. VCU was out-rebounded by Mason, 40-27.
The level of play was intense and both teams did a good job of representing the conference. Larranaga and Grant both stuck with eight man rotations.
“Eric did a great job of taking over at the end,” said Grant, whose Rams have now won seven consecutive games.
Coach Jim Larranaga said the three best CAA players he’s seen in his 12 years of coaching at Mason are: George Evans (Mason 1998-2001), Brett Blizzard (UNCW 1999-2002) and Eric Maynor, who is in his senior year at VCU.
VCU leads Mason in the all-time series, which began in 1981, by a 26 to 15 margin.
Next up, VCU (15-5, 8-1 in CAA) will collide with Northeastern (13-6, 8-1 in CAA), who defeated Old Dominion (11-8, 4-5 in CAA) today in Norfolk. This tilt will be another showdown for first place in the league; it will be played on Tues., Jan. 27, at 9 p.m. at the Siegel Center (ESPNU).
– Words and photos by F.T. Rea