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BLACKSBURG, Va. – Monmouth fell to 0-3 on the season with a 71-39 loss to George Mason in the East Regional Consolation Game of the 2011 Dick’s Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off, on Tuesday night in Cassell Coliseum.

The Hawks, who were paced by Ed Waite’s near double-double of nine points and 12 rebounds, along with a career-high tying four steals, shot 24.1% from the field (14-58), including 17.2% in the second half, in the loss.

George Mason, which received votes in both major polls in the preseason, connected on 47.3% overall, which included 14-of-25 in the first half, en route to the victory, improving the Patriots to 2-1 on the year. The Patriots were led by Ryan Pearson’s 16 points and 12 rebounds, while Vertrail Vaughns added 12 points and Mike Morrison chipped in nine points.

George Mason, which opened the year with consecutive overtime games, started the game on an 8-0 run, which included a pair of three-pointers, and opened an 11-2 lead with 17:17 remaining in the half. Following a Dion Nesmith drive and Waite’s offensive putback, the Hawks climbed within 13-6 at 16:23, and trailed 20-12 after three-pointers from Will Campbell and Jesse Steele with 11:06 left.

After the Patriots doubled up the Hawks 24-12 at the 8:55 mark, Monmouth put together a 5-0 spurt on three points from Andrew Nicholas and Mike Myers Keitt’s drive down the lane to climb within 24-17 with 5:05 left.

GMU answered with a 12-0 run and ended the half on a 16-4 spurt to take a 40-21 lead at the intermission.

The Patriots continued their run after the break and increased it to 25-7 with 16:40 remaining in the game, to haul in a 49-24 advantage, as Max DiLeo’s three-point play accounted for the Hawks points in the opening two minutes of the half.

Monmouth, which trailed 55-29 with 11:39 left, put together a 9-4 run over a span of 6:29, capped by a Myers Keitt three-pointer, to make the score 59-38 with 5:10 showing. The Patriots responded with the next seven points, and ended the contest on a 12-1 run to coral the 71-39 victory.

Monmouth returns to action on Monday in the next pod of games of the NIT at a site to be determined on Thursday.

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