URI Unable to Climb Out of First Half Hole vs George Mason
George Mason’s interior proved too much Saturday afternoon as Rhode Island fell to the Patriots, 79-72, at The Ryan Center.
George Mason (12-8, 4-3 A-10) opened the game with an 8-0 run, thanks in large part to big man Josh Oduro’s work inside. He scored the first four points of the game and assisted on a 3-point shot by Devon Cooper to help the Patriots jump out quickly. Led by forward Josh Oduro. After calling timeout two minutes into the game, Rhode Island (6-13, 2-5 A-10) got on the board with a jumper Ishmael Leggett to get them on the board.
The Rams got a big surge from Brandon Weston, who went on a personal 7-0 run, hitting two jumpers and a pair of free throws midway through the first half to make it one-point game, 15-14 with 11:39 remaining in the half. For the remainder of the half, George Mason controlled the tempo. The Patriots made five 3-point shots in the first half and finished the period making its last seven field goals overall to take a 41-26 lead into the break.
Rhode Island played with better energy in the second half, tightening its defense and putting together solid offensive possessions. Led by the dynamic backcourt of Ishmael Leggett and Brayon Freeman attacking the interior, the Rams put together an 8-0 run to cut George Mason’s lead to single-digits, 49-40, with 14 minutes remaining in the half.
URI continued to chip away, eventually getting back within three points at 62-59 following a Freeman 3-pointer with 7:29 to go that capped an 11-2 Rhody run. However, George Mason responded with a 7-0 spurt of its own to quickly push the deficit back to 10 points. Rhode Island got as close as six points with just under three minutes to go, but the Patriots held on to snap URI’s four-game home win streak.
Inside the Box Score
George Mason’s Josh Oduro had a double-double, scoring 24 points to go with 14 rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocked shots.
Devon Cooper, who played 39 minutes, added 20 points and was 5-of-8 from 3-point range for the Patriots.
Rhode Island got a strong game off the bench from redshirt freshman Brandon Weston, who had 14 points and four steals in 27 minutes.
Weston was 7-for-7 at the free throw line.
Sophomore Brayon Freeman had a career-high 25 points, 23 of which came in the second half.
Sophomore Ishmael Leggett had 13 points, six rebounds and four steals.
Rhode Island had a season-high 12 steals.
George Mason outrebounded the Rams, 35-30.
Rhode Island had a 14-3 edge in fastbreak points.
URI’s bench scored 28 points.
Rhode Island hosts Dayton on national television on Wednesday, Jan. 25. Game time is 7 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.