College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, December 30, 2011
George Mason's leading scorer, Ryan Pearson, pumped in 35 points as the Patriots finished off their 2011 schedule in fine fashion with an 84-76 road win over a solid Charleston team from the Southern Conference.
Pearson, a 6'6" senior forward, made 15 of 25 shots from the field, one of three from beyond the arc, cashed all four of his free throws and hauled in a game high 14 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season. His 35 points were a career high, and he added four assists, two steals and a blocked shot in an all-around superior performance.
Antwaine Wiggins had 19 points and 9 boards for the 10-3 Cougars.
The Patriots, out of the Colonial Athletic Association, shot 52% for the game, improving to 9-4 on the season and 1-0 in conference play (defeated Towson, 65-53). George Mason is best remembered for their 2006 NCAA tournament run, when they topped Michigan State, North Carolina, Wichita State and Connecticut, before falling to eventual champion Florida in the Final Four semi-final, 73-58.
Last season, the Patriots won 16 straight games, lost in the CAA championship game to VCU, 79=63, but were an at-large invite to the NCAA tourney where they beat Villanova in their opening game before losing to Ohio State in the second round.