Noah Fleischman, Sports Editor
Men’s Basketball clinched the Atlantic 10 regular season title after taking down George Mason 71-36 on the road in Fairfax Tuesday night. The win extended the Rams’ win streak to 11 games and set a school record for the 15th A-10 win of the season.
The 36 points allowed by the Rams set a new record for points allowed in program history — previously being against New Hampshire in 1992, allowing 37 points.
The Rams took momentum into the locker room as redshirt-junior guard Marcus Evans hit a 3-pointer with less than 10 seconds on the clock. The shot put the Black and Gold up by 7.
“We had some momentum going into halftime and the best way to have momentum in the second half is to take it into the locker room,” coach Mike Rhoades said. “[Evans] made some plays — got loose a little bit late in the second half — gave us some energy.”
VCU took control of the game early in the second half, as the Rams went on a 23-0 run spanning just over eight minutes. During the run, HAVOC forced six George Mason turnovers.
Sophomore forward Marcus Santos-Silva sparked the run with two straight layups going into the first media timeout of the second half. Junior guard Malik Crowfield led the Rams by draining two 3-pointers.
“In the second half, once we saw a few shots go in, we really attacked them,” Evans said. “And it’s been happening all year. Our defense helps lead to our offense, so all that together helped us get on the run. And once we got on that run, there was no looking back.”
VCU’s No. 3 defense from beyond the arc held the Patriots to shooting 11.1 percent. George Mason shot 24.5 percent from the field.
The Rams attacked the glass early and often, posting six rebounds in the first four minutes — including four offensive boards.
Neither team started off strong shooting, as both teams combined to shoot 0-for-9 from beyond the arc for the first 10 minutes of the contest.
“I think our energy was different [in the second half],” Evans said. “I think in the first half we came out a little hesitant. We weren’t aggressive on offense. I think we were playing good defense, but offensively we were back on our heels.”
The Rams entered a scoring drought that spanned just over six minutes midway through the first half. George Mason built a 9-0 run during the drought, taking a 6-point lead.
HAVOC mounted a comeback as freshman forward Vince Williams stole the ball from a Patriots player and passed it to Evans, who drained a 3-pointer to pull within two. Soon after the three, Evans drained another one to put VCU ahead.
Williams finished with 6 points, seven rebounds and two steals.
The Patriots never led again after Evans hit from long range.
The Rams host Saint Joesph’s Friday night 9 p.m.