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Friday, October 26, 2012



FAIRFAX, Va. - The George Mason men's basketball team saw five players score in double figures as the Patriots outlasted a pesky Bowie State squad, 76-72, in exhibition action Thursday night at the Patriot Center. Bowie State senior Byron Westmorland accounted for 30 points for the Bulldogs, who are picked to win the CIAA Northern Division title. Senior Dameatric Scott scored 18 points and fellow senior Najee White added a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds.

“We played very hard, I thought we defended well and I’m really pleased with our rebounding”, said Bowie State head coach Darrell Brooks after the game. “The thing we have to get better at is taking care of the basketball ... The guys are still learning each other and the season is just beginning”.

Marko Gujanicic led the way for the Patriots with a team-high 16 points. Adding to the Patriot offense was Erik Copes who had 13 points, while Vertrail Vaughns contributed 12, Anali Okoloji had 11 and Jonathan Arledge scored 10.

Mason had offensive struggles early, connecting on just one of their first nine field goal attempts, a layup by Copes. The Patriots would trail the Bulldogs for more than six minutes of the contest, until a Vaughns fast break layup tied the score at five. It was part of a 9-2 run that gave the Patriots a 12-7 advantage less than midway through the first half. That lead held up until the 10-minute mark when Westmorland's 3-pointer put the Bulldogs up 16-14.

The Patriots though, would take the lead back as the first half clock winded down. Mason used a 14-0 run spanning more than three minutes to take a 36-29 lead with less than 30 seconds to go. Westmorland hit a 3-pointer in to stop the run, but Johnny Williams answered with a trey of his own as the horn sounded to set the halftime score of 39-32.

Gujanicic led the Patriots with 12 points in the first half on 6-of-8 shooting, while Westmorland had 17 to lead all scorers. The Patriots shook off a rough start from the field to shoot 48.5 percent in the first half (16-33), compared to a 48 percent mark for the Bulldogs (12-25). Bowie State won the rebounding battle by a 17-16 margin, but committed 16 turnovers to just eight for Mason.

Bowie State pulled within a possession at 48-46 with a 7-0 run, nearly erasing the Patriots halftime advantage six and a half minutes into the period. The Bulldogs inched closer, regaining the lead at 51-49 on a Scott 3-pointer at the 12:36 mark. Arledge knocked down a jumper just beyond the stripe to tie the score, and a Okoloji layup would make the score 53-51 Patriots.
The Patriots opened up a lead as large as six from then on, but again the Bulldogs countered, tying the score at 64 with just over five minutes left in the contest. The Patriots would not trail again in the game, using a 12-4 run to open a 76-68 advantage after an Okoloji layup with 1:26 left.

For the game, the Bulldogs shot 53.2 percent compared to a 50 percent mark for the Patriots, but committed 27 turnovers to the Patriots 19. Mason also won the rebounding battle by a 33-32 margin. “The negative things that we come away with in this game are all correctable, teachable errors”, said Brooks.

The Bulldogs open the season Saturday, November 10 at Shepherd University in the opening game of the Clarion Hotel Classic. Tip-off against the Rams is scheduled for 7 pm.

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