Noah Fleischman, Sports Editor
Junior forward Marcus Santos-Silva wasn’t pleased when he watched one of his layups late in the second half fall halfway down the net and lip out.
That didn’t happen often for him on Sunday afternoon at George Mason, as he logged his fifth double-double in the 72-59 win over the Patriots.
“He’s an old school, lunchpail kind of player,” George Mason’s coach Dave Paulsen said of Santos-Silva. “He doesn’t do anything he can’t do, but he does what he can do exceptionally well.”
Santos-Silva tied his career-high with 26 points and added 12 rebounds in 26 minutes of action.
The Taunton, Massachusetts, native shot 10-for-14 from the field and was 6-for-6 from the free-throw line.
The Rams opened the contest on a 6-0 run, limiting Mason to 0-for-6 shooting from the field. Then the black and gold went cold, turning the ball over four times without a point for just over four minutes.
“We got off to a good start and then we sort of relaxed there on the defensive end for a little bit and that slowed us on offense,” coach Mike Rhoades said. “We want to get the best shot on the court that we can, but I also want our guys to be aggressive.”
Senior guard Mike’L Simms sparked the Rams’ shooting from deep, nailing a 3-pointer midway through the first half. The Rams started 0-for-5 from three to start the afternoon.
Moments later, the Richmond native went back-to-back from deep with senior guard De’Riante Jenkins to push the lead to 9.
Jenkins finished the contest with 13 points and four rebounds for the Rams.
Late in the first half, the Rams used a 12-2 run over four minutes to maintain an 11-point lead and close the half.
In the second half, the black and gold pushed the lead to as many as 20 points and held it the entire contest.
The Rams forced 12 George Mason turnovers in the second half after only forcing one in the first half.
Rhoades said that redshirt-senior guard Marcus Evans was held out of the starting lineup against the Patriots due to a “coach’s decision” and a “discipline move.”
Evans played 21 minutes, logging 6 points and six assists.
The Rams shot 45% from the field, including 35% from deep. They were also 18-for-18 from the free-throw line, the most makes without a miss in program history.
The win also marked the program’s 1,000th victory, dating back to 1968 when Richmond Professional Institute merged with the Medical College of Virginia to create VCU.
The Rams host Rhode Island on Jan. 11 at 2 p.m. and the game will be televised on CBS Sports Network.