Mason still can’t beat Saint Louis for some reason
Mason uses strong second half to beat Saint Joseph’s on the road
Mason comes up short on the road at St. Bonaventure
George Mason beats UMass in gritty battle

Mason still can’t beat Saint Louis for some reason

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Yesterday afternoon George Mason lost to Saint Louis for the third straight time in less than a year. The level of effort and execution was just not there for Mason and it was probably their worst performance on the season. Nothing was going right from the start and early fouls on Marquise Moore and Jalen Jenkins really ground the offense to an early halt. It didn’t get much better in the second half even though they shot the ball much better from the field. Everyone seemed to be missing shots at the foul line and just making bad decisions on both ends. The overall flow of the game was weird from the start and the fouls called were inconsistent but Mason still had plenty of chances to climb back in. They only had 11 turnovers on the day but it seemed like Saint Louis was able to capitalize on every single one of them (14 points off turnovers). Sure the Billikens were desperate for a win and it definitely seemed like they wanted it more, but when Mason has been out-willing their opponents all season long with better effort; it was difficult to watch them go down in this one.

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Mason uses strong second half to beat Saint Joseph’s on the road

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Last night George Mason improved to 2-2 in the Atlantic 10 and got their first ever win over Saint Joseph’s. It was a close game at the half but Mason played very well in the second and got another stellar performance from Marquise Moore. Moore had 24 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists and became just the second player in Mason history to post 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 300 assists in a career. You may remember Cam Long reached this feat a few years ago. Mason was able to overcome Jalen Jenkins fouling out early and made some critical shots in the last three minutes including a three-pointer from Otis Livingston II. They finished the night shooting 50% from field and had the edge on free-throw attempts and the boards. They also got good contributions from Ian Boyd, Justin Kier, and Karmari Newman who again showed off his three-point shooting.

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Mason comes up short on the road at St. Bonaventure

screenshot-2017-01-08-07-04-02George Mason came up short yesterday at St. Bonaventure 82-72 in a game where they undid themselves. Too many little mistakes piled up and negated a strong effort by the team. Entering this game the Bonnies had an extremely efficient offense and while Mason kept it close for most of the game, they gave them too many second chances opportunities. They had a poor day at the free-throw line, even Otis Livingston II was missing them, turned over the ball 15 times, and gave up a lot of offensive rebounds. Credit the Bonnies for making Mason’s strength a weakness in this one and they also didn’t let any many runs happen. Every time Mason did start to make a run St. Bonaventure answered with a three it seemed. Mason fought hard and played better in the second half, it was pretty even but they couldn’t seem to dig themselves out from earlier trouble.

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George Mason beats UMass in gritty battle

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George Mason evened their conference record last night with an 86-81 win over Massachusetts at home. Mason had no trouble getting to the foul line in this one after struggling to do so against VCU last Friday. However they left a lot of early points on the court early on but bounced back having 21 more free-throw attempts than the Minutemen. Earlier on it was a run-and-gun battle and UMass was capitalizing on a lot of open looks. Mason played a very good second half with smart defensive adjustments and a balanced scoring attack. Marquise Moore was one rebound shy of yet another double-double but Jaire Grayer had the best night with 16 points, eight rebounds, two blocks, and three three-pointers. Also Grayer and Otis Livingston II had big three-pointers to cap off a big run that sealed the victory for Mason.

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Mason falls to VCU in A-10 opener

vcudec3092George Mason’s nine game winning streak came to an end Friday night as they fell to VCU 73-64. The effort and competitiveness was not missing for Mason but the age and experience may have caught up with them in this one. Also factor in Marquise Moore sustaining a groin in injury in the second half and playing up to level of VCU for 40 minutes became very difficult. They were some rushed shots and other miscues that hurt Mason big time in the second half. However, VCU essentially beat Mason at their own game by getting paints in the paint, getting to the free-throw line and out-rebounding them. The crazy stat is how many times VCU turned over the ball (21) and Mason couldn’t take advantage. The difference was VCU turned Mason’s turnovers into transition points and Mason didn’t. AIso, I can’t emphasize the free-throw battle enough as I kept stressing how important it was going to to be for Mason heading into this one. Only two Mason players shot free-throws all night for a total of 8 attempts compared to VCU’s 20.

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George Mason opens conference play with showdown against VCU

vcu-2016-12-27-14_24_40-photos_-vcu-george-mason-vcu-ram-nationFans of both George Mason and VCU can argue all day about the validity of this being an actual rivalry. Who cares? Whether it’s a true rivalry or not it’s a big game for both programs, especially with Mason’s big upset over the Rams at the end of last season and the overall history of the series. Most of the time it’s a great game no matter what the standings or records show at the time. Both teams are 10-3 heading into Friday night’s game and looking like they will be fighting for the top of the Atlantic 10 standings. This will be VCU’s third road game after beating Liberty and ODU by a combined margin of eight points on the road earlier in the season. The Rams have had a much tougher non-conference slate but have not been consistent on offense and have struggled with turnovers and rebounding.

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Outside look at Mason’s nine game winning streak

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Here is an outsider’s look from our new writer Adam Hayes on Mason’s nine game winning streak leading up to tonight’s game against VCU. Adam also writes for the USS Sports Machine sports blog. 

Everyone still remembers the George Mason Patriots for their surprising run to the Final Four in 2006. While the team had a few successful seasons in the last 10 years, they have really struggled since moving to the Atlantic 10 Conference in 2013. It may have taken George Mason a few years to adjust to the tougher conference schedule, but they finally look ready to be serious contenders in the Atlantic 10 for many years to come.

The George Mason Patriots looked like they were in store for another hugely disappointing season after losing three of their first four games. The early losses are even worse when consider that two of them were at home against poor teams. The Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers have only one two games this season, and one of them came in an overtime upset of George Mason on November 11.

Since the horrible start to the season, the George Mason Patriots have gone on a pleasantly-surprising nine-game winning streak. This team looked incapable of beating a decent basketball team two months ago, but they are now one of the hottest teams in the country. Led by Queens, New York native senior Marquise Moore with this 18.7 PPG during this streak, the winning streak started at the Gulf Coast Showcase in Estero, Florida. A comeback victory against a very good Kent State team and a blowout victory over the Bradley Braves helped George Mason finish the tournament with two solid wins.

It has not always been easy for the George Mason Patriots during the last nine games, but they always found a way to win the game. It took an extra five minutes to get the win over the winless James Madison Dukes. A big second half comeback was also needed to secure a road win over the Northern Iowa Panthers. Since those two tight victories, the Patriots have won the last five games by no less than 11 points. The most impressive win during the long winning streak was a huge 19-point win on the road against Penn State. While the Nittany Lions are not a powerhouse basketball team, they always seem to find a way to compete with the great teams in the Big Ten each year.

The George Mason Patriots are not facing the toughest teams in college basketball, but winning nine games in a row is always an impressive feat for a team that has not won more than 11 games in the last three seasons. The toughness of the Patriots is about to get tested on a consistent basis when they start conference play Friday night against the Virginia Commonwealth Rams.

This may be a down year for the Atlantic 10, but the conference is always filled with solid basketball teams from top to bottom. If the George Mason Patriots want to prove their long winning streak was not a fluke, then they need to find a way to win the majority of their 18 conference games. Keeping the streak alive Friday night against the VCU Rams will not be an easy task, but it is a game that the Patriot must win if they want to return to postseason play.

Mason rolls on past Prairie View to make it nine in a row

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George Mason extended their winning streak to nine games after a Thursday afternoon win over Prairie View A&M. It was a sloppy game for the Patriots as they turned over the ball 20 times but were strong on the defensive end to make up for it. Despite some of the sloppy plays they got back on track in the second half and dominated the boards and the battle at the free-throw line. Marquise Moore and Otis Livingston II carried the team on offense and gave us this beauty:

Although Moore and Livingston shouldered the scoring load, it was a balanced attack on all other areas. Justin Kier and Ian Boyd played a lot of great minutes, each collecting six rebounds and contributing to Mason’s tough defense. The domination on the glass is incredible, I don’t care who you are playing, final advantage was 59-29. The recipe to win for Mason is simple and they are forcing their brand onto other teams.

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So now Mason has had their final tune-up before the showdown with VCU on Friday night. Something that is interesting leading into that game is that Mason has had a lot more possessions over the last couple of games. Yes, it’s against some lower competition but these teams are pressing them and they are turning up the tempo and making opponents pay. VCU will press all day on defense and while I wouldn’t want to see the entire game be played at that pace, I think Mason is more than ready to face that style and take advantage. The Rams have been coughing up the ball a lot more than Mason has and winning the battle on the glass and getting to the free-throw should be the big keys for Mason.

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[Photos by Bill Bride]

Dave Paulsen installs his ‘Burn Your Boats’ vision at George Mason

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Marquise Moore was interviewed last week by the American Sports Network to discuss his Atlantic 10 player of year week award, the team’s current winning streak, and the program’s first ever triple-double. But I think the most interesting part of the interview was when Moore was asked if the team had any mottos or fun slogans. His response was a quote that Dave Paulsen uses “burn your boats”, that essentially stands for a team being ‘all in’ and like soldiers against great odds, never retreating. You can hear Moore talk about it at the 3:43 mark of the video below:


The motto and vision for the program dates back to Paulsen’s earlier coaching days at Bucknell. This is from a 2010 practice:

“Paulsen basically had to get it through to his guys that no one is going to help them. They had to show up Wednesday, leaving everything they have on shore and protect their house.

Burn your boats, boys.

We’re not leaving until we get this done one way or another. We’re either going to carry the day, or we’re going down swinging.”

I reached out to Paulsen about the motto and he said basically it’s a “historical reference to an “all in” mentality – can’t have one foot on land, one foot in water ready to retreat when times are tough, you’re not playing as much as you’d like, don’t like your role etc. One of single biggest challenges as coach is to get total buy in.”

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Mason’s freshmen are a big part of the turn around

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Marquise Moore is turning heads in the college basketball world this season and while he and Otis Livingston II are a big reason why Mason is currently 9-3 and not 3-9, this year’s freshmen class is also playing a big role in the turn around. We knew heading into this season that, much like last year, we’d see freshmen play a lot of meaningful minutes. Whether or not that would result in George Mason getting out of the Atlantic 10 basement was the big question. Kenpom’s team experience rating formula ranks Mason 305 out of 351 this season which is not surprising given how many sophomore and freshmen are on the roster. The team has surpassed expectations and already two wins away from matching last season’s win total. The freshmen have been in impressive to say the least.

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