RICHMOND, Va. –Most Outstanding Player Eric Maynor (Raeford, N.C.) scored 25 points and Larry Sanders (Fort Pierce, Fla.) set a tournament single-game record with 20 rebounds and 18 points to lead at 71-50 Virginia Commonwealth University rout of George Mason Monday in the Colonial Athletic Association Championship game at the Richmond Coliseum.
It’s VCU’s third title in six years and fourth overall. The victory sends the Rams (24-9) to the NCAA Tournament for the ninth time in school history.
“Our guys came out and played with tremendous focus and tremendous passion,” said VCU Head Coach Anthony Grant. “We’re obviously excited to have goal No. 2 done. Regular season champs, tournament champs, and now we’re on to an opportunity to play in the NCAA Tournament. I’m just extremely proud of our guys and just looking forward to the next step.”
Maynor, who also handed out eight assists, and Sanders sparked VCU to a 30-19 halftime lead from which the Patriots would never recover.
Sanders, who tied David Robinson’s CAA Tournament record for blocks in a game with seven, keyed a herculean VCU defensive effort. The Rams held George Mason to 31 percent (18-of-59) shooting from the floor and outrebounded the Patriots, 39-32.
In addition, Sanders’ 40 rebounds in three games set a CAA Tournament record, also held by Robinson since 1986.
Meanwhile, the Rams shot 52 percent (13-of-25) in the first half and 49 percent (26-of-53) for the game. VCU never trailed and led by as many as 23 points, the most the Patriots have fallen behind in a game all season.
Freshman Bradford Burgess (Midlothian, Va.) and sophomore Joey Rodriguez (Oviedo, Fla.) added eight points apiece for the Black and Gold.
Dre Smith provided one of the few bright spots for George Mason, scoring 23 points. Smith hit five 3-pointers, but couldn’t pull the Patriots closer than 12 points in the second half.