Men's hoops remains atop CAA standings with win over Delaware

Senior Ryan Pearson once again led the way for the surging Patriots with 24 points and 10 rebounds as Mason took down the Blue Hens of Delaware 89-63 (John Powell).
Senior Ryan Pearson once again led the way for the surging Patriots with 24 points and 10 rebounds as Mason took down the Blue Hens of Delaware 89-63 (John Powell).

Fairfax, Va.– The Patriots (14-5, 6-1) came out on fire Wednesday night as they easily defeated the Blue Hens of Delaware (7-10, 3-4) in the first of a three-game conference homestand, 89-63, successfully maintaining their position tied atop the CAA standings with Old Dominion.

Senior forwards Mike Morrison and Ryan Pearson led the way for the Patriots.

“It was a good team effort, obviously Mike and Ryan were terrific tonight, they got the game started,” head coach Paul Hewitt said.

Morrison had one of the best nights of his career, registering 17 points and capturing 7 rebounds. In addition to his standard high-flying lay-ins and alley-oops, he demonstrated solid interior post moves. On several occasions he demanded the ball with his back to the basket and was able to convert.

“Working with Coach [Roland] Houston, he’s a great big man coach, he instills a lot of confidence in me,” Morrison said. “When you have confidence you’re gonna’ score, a lot of things will just drop for you.”

His presence was also felt on the defensive end, as he had three blocks and held the Blue Hens’ (7-10, 3-4) double-double threat Jamelle Hagins to a quiet night with just 10 points and six rebounds. Hagins is averaging 13.4 points and 11.7 rebounds on the season.

Pearson led all scorers with 24 points to go along with 10 boards, good for his seventh double-double of the season. He was averaging 17.4 points and 8.4 rebounds per contest entering Wednesday night’s game.

“We came out strong on defense, we came out fired up, and we just got uncontested baskets,” Pearson said.

Despite freshman big man Erik Copes’ absence due to an injury suffered during the Drexel game, the domination of Morrison and Pearson gave the Patriots the edge 52-30 in terms of points in the paint.

Perhaps the most impressive stat of the evening was that the Patriots had just eight turnovers. This has been a major issue for Hewitt’s squad throughout the season, but the decision-making seemed to be vastly improved against the Blue Hens.

“It was the same plays, we just made them cleaner, more efficient tonight,” Hewitt said.

Sophomore guard Bryon Allen also scored in double figures for the Patriots with 12 points, in addition to grabbing four rebounds and dishing four assists

Devon Saddler led the way for Delaware with 21 points. He is their leading scorer, averaging 18.6 points on the season.

Since entering conference competition, the Patriots have seemed to pick up their game. Despite their slow start to the season, they have proved dominant against their fellow CAA competition outside of the loss at Drexel on Jan. 12.

“I think these guys understand what the ultimate goal for us is, we’ve talked about league games and how important they are,” Hewitt said.

Mason returns to action Saturday as they host the winless Towson Tigers in a 4 p.m. contest. They will have a quick turn-around as they play host to a 7-10 UNC Wilmington team Monday at 9 p.m.

“If we’re going to be a championship level team, it doesn’t matter who you play,” Hewitt said.

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