RICHMOND, Va., March 6, 2010 – Junior guard Brandon Rozzell (Richmond, Va.) scored all of his 14 points during the second half, including a trio of three-point field goals that gave his team control, as fifth-seeded VCU defeated #4 George Mason 75-60 in the second quarterfinal game of the 2010 Virginia 529 College Savings Plan CAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Saturday afternoon at the Richmond Coliseum.
Rozzell broke the game’s 10th tie with a three-pointer with 6:37 remaining to give the Rams a 56-53 lead. He added three-point field goals at the 5:56 and 4:44 marks, and VCU dominated the rest of the way as George Mason hit for only five field goals – one with 1.9 seconds left – over the game’s final 9:33.
VCU raised its season record to 22-8 and advances to Sunday’s 3 p.m. semifinal game against top-seeded Old Dominion. Old Dominion advanced with an 86-56 victory over eighth-seeded Towson in Saturday’s quarterfinal opener. Fourth-seeded George Mason fell to 17-14 for the season.
Rozzell during the final half hit on five of seven shots, including four of five from three-point range, and also had four rebounds and a steal in 21 overall minutes. He was among three VCU players in double figures in scoring, and his effort offset a career scoring performance by George Mason sophomore forward Ryan Pearson (Far Rockaway, N.Y.), who had 22 points on 10-of-12 shooting.
Rozzell’s three-pointer with 6:37 left provided the game’s 11th lead change, and the Ram lead reached 62-55 on his next two connections from long range. VCU junior guard Joey Rodriguez (Oviedo, Fla.) then was fouled on a three-point attempt with 4:12 to play and hit on each of the free throws for a 65-55 Ram advantage.
George Mason got to within 65-57 on a dunk by sophomore forward Mike Morrison (St. Petersburg, Fla.) with 3:55 left but missed on its next eight shots from the field.
VCU hit on nine of 13 shots, including Rozzell’s three three-pointers, after the 7:36 media timeout. George Mason connected only three of 14 attempts during the same period.
VCU shot 59.3 percent (16-27) overall and 54.5 percent (6-11) from three-point range in the second half after shooting 35.5 percent (11-31) overall and 20.0 percent (2-10) on three-point tries during the opening period.
George Mason shot 43.6 percent (24-55) overall but only 39.3 percent (11-28) during the final half and 25.0 percent (3-12) from three-point range overall.
Junior forward Larry Sanders (Fort Pierce, Fla.) had 17 points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots to record his league-leading 12th double-double and Rodriguez contributed 17 points and five assists for VCU. Sanders had 15 points and 13 rebounds in his team’s first-round win over Delaware Friday.
Pearson also had a team-high seven rebounds in 30 minutes, and freshman forward Luke Hancock scored 11 points for the Patriots.
VCU led 22-15 midway through the first half, with points from six players, but George Mason outscored the Rams 20-10 over the period’s final 9:40 and led 35-32 at halftime. Pearson had nine points during the late George Mason run.
The Patriots’ lead went to 39-34 less than three minutes into the final half but consecutive VCU three-pointers by Rodriguez and sophomore guard Bradford Burgess (Midlothian, Va.) and a Rozzell 15-footer gave VCU a 42-41 edge with13:43 left.