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Wright would have his star moment soon, the sort of twist that can define a career.

Only there’s a funny bit of happenstance: He wasn’t supposed to get the ball.

Forward Ryan Pearson acted as the inbound passer, and speedy point guard Bryon Allen was the first look.

There was just one problem.

“He was totally denied, and I couldn’t get it to him,” Pearson said.

Wright, assigned to screen on the play, immediately assessed the situation. Pearson was tiptoeing the baseline, flirting with disaster in the process. He zipped from near midcourt to the top of the key, accepting the toss from Pearson.

“I pump-faked the pass, and I was almost falling over the line, and Sherrod saw me, and he came back, and he was the first person I saw so I just threw it to him,” Pearson said.

The dribbles

Each day in practice, Mason works on end-game situations. Maybe there’s three seconds left. Perhaps seven. Either way, the Patriots are ready for the pressure.

In case it wasn’t enough, Hewitt stood on the sideline before Pearson was handed the ball and bellowed, “Three dribbles!” That’s all whoever got the ball would have time for.

“I don’t know if he took three dribbles,” Hewitt said.

Don’t worry. He took three dribbles. He had someone glued to him the entire time, too.

The defense

Never in the sequence did Wright have it easy.

VCU sophomore Rob Brandenburg hewed nearby for a charge of roughly half the court – from one 3-point line to within about five feet of the other. If Wright was to manage anything, he would earn it.

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