Mason men's basketball advances to the CBI tournament championship series against Santa Clara

Bryon Allen drives against Western Michigan in Wednesday's win over the Broncos (Photo by John Irwin).
Bryon Allen drives against Western Michigan in Wednesday's win over the Broncos (Photo by John Irwin).

The George Mason University men’s basketball advanced to the finals of the CBI Tournament Wednesday night, downing the Western Michigan Broncos, 62-52 in front of a Patriot Center crowd of 1,684.

Junior forward Jonathan Arledge led all scorers with 23 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field and a perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw line. Sherrod Wright, who had an off night by his standards, attributed nine points for the Patriots.

Arledge carried the scoring load that the Patriots drastically needed with no other players finishing in double figures scoring. Finishing at the rim, behind the arc and from the free throw line, the 6’9” forward asserted himself early and often, showing his versatility as a power forward who can score from virtually anywhere on the floor.

“I’ve got to give it to Corey [Edwards] and Bryon [Allen] for getting me in spots for me to score,” said Arledge. “I know Sherrod had a slow day but I was able to pick up the slack.”

In what was a sloppy offensive performance by both teams for much of the contest, Mason managed to open spurts of scoring to control the pace and forced WMU to play catch up for the majority of the game.

“It wasn’t the prettiest effort obviously but I’m just happy we were able to grind out a win,” said Mason coach Paul Hewitt. “We looked a little dead-legged out there. That can happen this time of year, but I’m just happy we got our 21st win of the year.”

Where field goal and three-point shooting was lacking, the Patriots’ free throw shooting turned out to be a saving grace. Mason shot an efficient 85 percent from the charity stripe, converting on 24 of their 28 trips.

For the Broncos, David Brown led the way in scoring with 13 points and season scoring leader Shayne Whittington added 12 points and seven rebounds.

The Patriots travel to face the University of Santa Clara on Monday, April 1 in the first game of the best-of-three series to determine the CBI champion. [UPDATE] Mason would then return to Fairfax for Game 2 to be held at the RAC and, if necessary, Game 3 would be held at the Patriot Center.  

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