RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- B.A. Walker scored 17 points and hit a 3-pointer during a critical 7-2 second-half run Thursday night, lifting Virginia Commonwealth to a 63-49 victory against George Mason, the CAA-leading Rams 12th victory in 13 games.
The Rams (21-4, 13-1 Colonial Athletic Association) had seen their lead cut from 12 to four in a span of 3 1/2 minutes before Eric Maynor hit two free throws, Walker hit the Rams' first 3-pointer since very early and Calvin Roland scored with 4:37 left.The burst, interrupted only by Darryl Monroe's jumper for the Patriots, rebuilt the Rams lead to a more comfortable 54-45 and they held on in front a raucous crowd.George Mason (13-11, 7-7) got 17 points from Will Thomas, 13 from Monroe and 11 from Dre Smith, but only eight from the rest of its roster, which shot 4-for-25. Folarin Campbell managed just 2 points, 13.5 below his average, on 1-for-9 shooting.The Rams, whose 11 consecutive victories at the start of league play tied the CAA record, swept the season series from last season's Final Four team, and clinched a first-round bye in next month's conference tournament at Richmond Coliseum.Maynor added 13 points and seven assists and Wil Fameni and Roland each scored 10. Fameni also grabbed 11 rebounds.The Rams led 27-19 at halftime after a hot start and 17 1/2 minutes of cold shooting.After making their first five shots, including three from 3-point range, they made just 6 of their last 25 in the half. In one stretch, they made only three shots in eight minutes, yet still never led by fewer than seven -- at 21-14 with 5:19 to go.George Mason shot below 28 percent in the half and 36 percent for the game.