Herring Gets Mean; Patriots Get Victory
Siegel, Jon, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
When George Evans said that George Mason teammate Erik Herring is a nice guy, it was not meant as a compliment.
"Yeah, I think we all are," Evans said following yesterday's 76-71 win over American in the Colonial Athletic Association opener for both at the Patriot Center. "We all need to be more aggressive."
The defending league champion Patriots, who looked like the team that advanced to the NCAA tournament last season in the first half, couldn't provide the knockout blow after intermission against the tenacious Eagles.
Herring, a junior swingman, led the way with a career-high 24 points on 8-for-13 shooting. The Patriots (4-4) scored their final 17 points on free throws to win their 11th straight CAA game and beat AU for a seventh consecutive time.
"We were severely tested and very pleased with the way we responded," said George Mason coach Jim Larranaga, whose team led 50-32 early in the second half.
Evans was limited to 12 points and did not take a shot in the first 10 minutes of the second half. The 6-7 junior center did tie a Patriot Center record with seven blocks, but he was double and triple-teamed and made his only two field goal attempts after halftime.
Patrick Doctor, (8-17) AU's sensational sophomore forward, led the Eagles' comeback and finished with a team-high 19 points before fouling out with 2:23 remaining.
"My disappointment is, we didn't match their intensity to start the game and fell into a hole," said AU coach Art Perry, whose team dropped to a 5-3 record.
After cutting its deficit to 62-55 with 3:45 left, the Eagles had the momentum. AU's Demek Adams stole the ball and missed a driving layup, and teammate Saliou-Binet Telly missed an easy tip. The Patriots' Rob Anderson grabbed the rebound, ending AU's upset hopes.
The subplots of the day came as George Mason continues to search for a leader and a point guard. …