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Preview: George Mason basketball at VCU

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George Mason at Virginia Commonwealth

Where: Siegel Center, Richmond.

When: 6 p.m.

TV: ESPN2.

Records: Patriots 23-7, 14-3 CAA; Rams 24-6, 14-3.

Outlook: Drexel (24-5, 15-2) has secured first place in the CAA, leaving the Patriots and Rams vying for the No. 2 seed in the CAA tournament. Both already have earned first-round byes and won’t play again until next Saturday’s quarterfinals at Richmond Coliseum. Finishing second would probably mean facing No. 7 Northeastern (13-15, 9-8). Third place would likely result in a meeting with sixth-place Georgia State (19-10, 10-7). VCU’s CAA losses were by a combined nine points, George Mason’s by 15. The Patriots and Rams are meeting for the second time in 12 days following their extraordinary finish in Fairfax: Sherrod Wright’s three-pointer at the buzzer capped a five-point comeback in the last 30 seconds during George Mason’s 62-61 victory. Since then, however, fortunes have turned. The Patriots struggled to defeat Lamar at home and then lost at Northeastern in overtime, while VCU beat Northern Iowa and UNC Wilmington. The Patriots have committed 107 turnovers in the past six games, including 40 combined in the last two outings. The Rams feast on turnovers, forcing teams into more than 17 per game — the highest figure in the nation entering the week. They are also second in steals at more than 10 per contest. The Patriots continue to lead the CAA in scoring (70.7) and field goal percentage (46.3), while the Rams are second in preventing points (59.0). VCU’s Darius Theus is first in assists (4.7) and teammate Briante Weber leads in steals (2.2).

— Steven Goff

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