Bradford Burgess wasted no time in his NCAA record 143rd consecutive start as he drained his first three 3-pointers to help the Virginia Commonwealth University Rams beat the George Mason Patriots 74-64 in Richmond, Virginia Sunday night. With the victory the Rams advance to their second consecutive CAA tournament final where they will face the red hot #1 Drexel Dragons at 7pm on Monday night.
Bradford Burgess wasted no time in his NCAA record 143rd consecutive start as he drained his first three 3-pointers to help the Virginia Commonwealth University Rams beat the George Mason Patriots 74-64 in Richmond, Virginia Sunday night. With the victory the #2 Rams advance to their second consecutive CAA tournament final where they will face the red-hot #1 Drexel Dragons at 7pm on Monday night.
Fueled by the “HAVOC” defense and lights-out shooting, the Rams jumped out to an unbelievable 22-0 lead. Moments later the Rams pushed their lead to 32-4.
Offensively the Rams couldn’t make a mistake as Burgess, Troy Daniels, Rob Brandenberg, and Treveon Graham started the game a combined 7-7 from 3-point range. Defensively the Rams were so strong that the Patriots struggled to get the ball across half court without a turnover or at the least losing the ball out of bounds.
Despite the early blowout lead, the game was at times uncomfortable for Ram fans. The Rams faced a seven minute scoring drought before Burgess drained a 3-pointer with 16:48 remaining. Mason continued to cut the lead as the referees called countless fouls on VCU, and GMU scored many second chance points.The Patriots continued to catch up gradually, and with 3:12 remaining Mike Morrison cut the lead to six points after draining two free-throws.
Despite missing multiple free-throws, the Rams extended their final margin of victory to 10 points by making stops in the final minute. In dramatic fashion, the Rams got the final word in what is becoming an extremely intense in-state rivalry. More importantly, the Rams are one step closer to going dancing in the NCAA tournament.
Mike Morrison and Ryan Pearson
The Rams have every reason in the world to be thankful that Ryan Pearson and Mike Morrison have never had great games at the same time. In the two teams’ previous three meetings, Morrison fouled out all three times in an average of 22.3 minutes while only scoring 5.3 points per game. Meanwhile Pearson averaged 18.6 points and 9.3 rebounds.
Sunday the two reversed roles as Pearson contributed close to nothing and Morrison carried the Patriots with 20 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 blocks.
Top Performer: Bradford Burgess
Just by starting and setting the record, Burgess had an impressive night, but that wasn’t enough for Burgess. On the offensive end #20 fueled VCU’s explosive start and he finished the night with 20 points on 5-10 shooting from 3-point range.
“Big Shot” Brad’s offense was only matched by his impressive defense. Burgess effectively kept the ball out of CAA player of the year Ryan Pearson’s hands. In the previous two VCU-GMU games Pearson averaged 24 points and 10 rebounds, but Sunday he was a no show as he only scored 6 points and totally failed to contain Bradford Burgess.
Bradford Burgess started his 143rd straight game. He passed Patrick Ewing from Georgetown (1981-1985) to become the NCAA record holder for consecutive starts.
- VCU started the game shooting 7-7 from 3-point range.
- VCU has knocked George Mason out of four consecutive CAA tournaments. Patriot seniors Ryan Pearson, Mike Morrison, and Andre Cornelius have been knocked out of the tournament by VCU every single season of their careers.
- VCU grabbed a season low 20 rebounds which is 4 below their previous worst and 14.3 below their average.
- Despite having a +11 turnover margin, the Rams only attempted 2 more shots than the Patriots.
- Since being selected as the CAA player of the year, Ryan Pearson is averaging 5PPG, 3.5RPG and 4.5FPG.
Monday night the Rams will face the #1 Drexel Dragons in the CAA tournament final.
- Sunday March 5th. 7pm. #1 Drexel Dragons. Richmond Coliseum.
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- Photos: VCU vs. GMU; VCU Ram Nation
- What to expect: VCU vs. GMU–CAA Tournament edition
- Watch the replay; ESPN3
- Buy tickets to the CAA tournament; CAASports.com
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