NCAA

The VCU-George Mason rivalry is back and it’s beautiful

The VCU-George Mason rivalry is back and it’s beautiful

BY TYLER BYRUM

FAIRFAX, VA -- There was a double dose of Havoc defense in EagleBank Arena on Friday night.  A high-paced contest with 36 turnovers combined, led the fast break Rams to a 73-64 victory over George Mason.

Bodies were flying, fan bases out-shouting each other and the teams on the court played like it was a Lakers-Celtics battle.

Remember the old CAA VCU vs. George Mason matchups? That’s what you got in Fairfax, Virginia to kick off Atlantic 10 conference play.

JeQuan Lewis was the front of the charge with 26 points and was one of three Rams that reached double figures. Mo Allie-Cox was a rebound shy of a double-double with 14 points and nine rebounds.

Looking to run the Patriots out of their own building, VCU (11-3, 1-0) pushed the pace early. Off every defensive rebound they pushed the transition, after every basket VCU played with a full court press; Mason simply could not keep up.

Leading to a 13-0 run in the first half, the Rams built a 19-7 advantage that the Patriots would slowly chip away at for the remainder of the first.

Behind a home crowd that George Mason (10-4, 0-1) has not seen in years, Mason made it 36-35 at half.

Combating the Rams size, Mason pounded the paint with bodies, providing their own havoc, and forced the Rams to shoot over them. Focusing on defensive rebounding, Mo Allie-Cox and Justin Tillman were held to only three offensive boards in the first half.

However, there is only one team though that can control the Havoc, and that is VCU.

Keeping the tempo racing, Mason could not keep up with the Rams. Full court pressure limited the Patriots to a shorter shot clock and careless passes gave the Rams 16 points off turnovers. Dominating the paint, 44-32, VCU never allowed the Patriots to take the lead in the second half.

After the Patriots attempted to beat the Rams at their own game, VCU commanded the glass in the second half. Winning the battle of the boards 42-31, against a team that came in with a plus-10 rebounding advantage, limited Mason’s second chance points and kept momentum on the Rams side.

Shutting down the double-double machine in Marquise Moore (10 points, six rebounds), coming in with eight double-doubles on the season, became a pivotal turn for the Rams. The only way to cover Moore is with a quick guard on the outside and an agile big in the paint: Lewis and Allie-Cox.

In the second half he only brought in one board.

VCU jumps to an early lead in the conference standings with them and the Patriots having the best non-conference record in the league.

The rematch will not take place until the end of the season on March 4, but it will surely be one to watch in Richmond.

MORE NCAA HOOPS: THE MATCHUP: VIRGINIA TECH VS. #5 DUKE

Local college stars light up the Nike Pro City Kenner League

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tim_nolan10/Twitter

Local college stars light up the Nike Pro City Kenner League

Saturday began as a great opportunity to get close-up footage of Mac McClung. 

The rising sophomore guard at Georgetown is a viral sensation, with both his 48" veritcal and ability to use it. 

But as backcourt-mate James Akinjo and teammates began to clear out from the previous game, McClung was not setting his bag down by the newly-vacant bench like the rest of his teammates. In fact, he wasn't even in the gym. 

For the second day straight, McClung would not show up to play for A&W Associates. No word was given as to why, other than his absence being non-injury related. With that opportunity lost came another found: a reminder of the depth of talent and athleticism among DMV college athletes and the footage to prove it. 

First it was Maryland's rising senior guard Anthony Cowan Jr., who earned second-team All-Big Ten honors last season. The Bowie, Md. native's first bucket was a one-man operation, shaking his defender left then right before hitting a contested three. 

Opposite Cowan was Georgetown's second player on A&W Associates, forward Josh LeBlanc. And LeBlanc reaffirmed McClung isn't the only Hoya who can jump out of the gym (follow the thread for part two). 

George Washington sophomore forward Chase Paar made his presence felt as well, outmuscling defenders on the offensive end while protecting his own paint with two nice rejections. 

In the end, though, it was LeBlanc who left a lasting impression on the crowd at McDonough Gymnasium with his acrobatics above the rim. Cowan kept McClinton within a possession with one big shot after another, but he was ejected with just over a minute to play and A&W ultimately prevailed, 79-77. 

McClung did not play on Sunday either, as A&W dropped to 3-3 heading into the final weekend of Kenner League play.

All remaining games can be watched at Georgetown's McDonough Gymnasium, but spectator photography of any kind is strictly prohibited. 

RELATED

2019 College World Series Central: Bracket, favorites, viewing information

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2019 College World Series Central: Bracket, favorites, viewing information

The four matchups in the first round of the College World Series are set after the final two games of the tournament Super Regionals finished on Monday.

Arkansas and Auburn were the last two teams to make the CWS bracket, after each team won the rubber match in its respective Super Regional, scoring 14 runs apiece.

Of the eight teams vying for the prized college baseball title, two (Michigan and Florida State) were amongst the last four teams in the field of 64 to make the tournament. Now, they join some of the other top teams across the country. 

Michigan beat a No. 1 UCLA team 2-1 in the Los Angeles Super Regional, a Bruins team which hadn't lost a series all season. The Wolverines proved they are a force to be reckoned with as they head to their first CWS appearance since 1984.

Like Michigan, Auburn made the CWS for the first time in over 10 years (the Tigers' last CWS appearance was in 1997).

It's the second consecutive year that Mississippi State, Arkansas and Texas Tech have made the final bracket. Last year, Arkansas was the runner-up after losing to Oregon State in the finals. Mississippi State made it to the semifinals before Oregon State defeated the Bulldogs and went on to win the tournament. 

2019 NCAA COLLEGE WORLD SERIES BRACKET & BROADCAST SCHEDULE

CWS Final Game 3*: Michigan vs. Vanderbilt, Wed. 6/26 at 7 p.m. ET, ESPN

(*if necessary)

FINALIZED RESULTS

Game 1: Michigan 5, Texas Tech 3, Sat. 6/15
Game 2: Florida State 1, Arkansas 0, Sat. 6/15 
Game 3:  Vanderbilt 3, Louisville 1 Sun 6/16
Game 4: Mississippi State 5, Auburn 4, Sun. 6/16 
Game 5: Texas Tech 5, Arkansas 4, Mon. 6/17 | Arkansas eliminated
Game 6: Michigan 2, Florida State 0, Mon. 6/17
Game 7: Louisville 5, Auburn 3, Wed. 6/19 | Auburn eliminated
Game 8: Vanderbilt 6, Mississippi State 3, Wed. 6/19  
Game 9: Texas Tech 4, Florida State 1, Wed. 6/19 | Florida State eliminated
Game 10: Louisville 4, Mississippi State 3, Thurs. 6/20 | Mississippi State eliminated
Game 11: Michigan 15, Texas Tech 3, Fri. 6/21 | Texas Tech eliminated, Michigan advances to final
Game 12: Vanderbilt 3, Louisville 2, Fri. 6/21 | Louisville eliminated, Vanderbilt advances to final

CWS Final Game 1: Michigan 7, Vanderbilt 4, Mon. 6/24 | Michigan leads series 1-0
CWS Final Game 2: Vanderbilt 4, Michigan 1, Tues. 6/25 | Series tied 1-1

FUN FACTS

  • Vandy Rockstar: The Commodores' freshman right-hander Kumar Rocker threw a complete game no-hitter (and 19 Ks) in Game 2 against Duke in the Nashville Super Regional to keep Vanderbilt's championship hopes alive. 
  • Sweeps on Sweeps: Florida State, Louisville and Mississippi State each swept its respective Super Regional. The most notable was the Cardinals' sweep of the East Carolina Pirates, where Louisville outscored ECU 26-1. 
  • No Repeats: Texas Tech defeated the reigning champion Oregon State in the Lubbock Super Regional to ensure there will be a new school crowned champion.