Rob Rose scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half, and George Mason used a full-court press to extend a two-point halftime lead in defeating Towson State, 68-56, last night before 2,578 at Patriot Center.
The Patriots (6-4), who played for the first time in two weeks, won their second consecutive game. In addition to his 20 points, Rose had a team-high 12 rebounds. Tracy Battle had 13 points and Ricky Wilson 11 points and six assists. Steffan Brunsavage scored 20 and Michael Fink had 15 for Towson State (2-6).
The Patriots led, 27-25, at halftime, as Towson State was patient and moved the ball well on offense for good shots. That, combined with George Mason's three-for-nine foul shooting, meant Towson State had a chance to defeat its third Colonial Athletic Association opponent this season.
But the Patriots' full-court press resulted in a seven-point lead midway through the second half. Rose and Battle were unstoppable inside, and the Patriots ended the game with only nine turnovers.
"The lanes were wide open," said Rose, "and the ball just seemed to come to me in the second half."
"They weren't putting any pressure on us," said Patriots Coach Joe Harrington. "I just think we have players who are more aggressive."
George Mason, following two Tigers' turnovers, took a 27-21 lead with two minutes left in the first half on Mike Dufrene's left-handed hook shot. But Bill Leonard made an 18-footer and Fink put in a shot from 20 feet after George Mason's Kenny Sanders missed two free throws, narrowing the Patriots' lead to 27-25.
The turning point in the second half came with George Mason leading, 38-34, on a free throw by Battle. With the Patriots pressing, Towson State was called for five seconds on an inbounds pass, and Rose made a shot inside.
Wilson stole the ball seconds later at midcourt, drove to the basket, and was fouled by Ricky Byrd. He made one shot, making it 41-34.