George Mason once again followed up a loss with a win in Atlantic 10 play last night with a blow out win over La Salle at home 95-75. The team continues it’s win-loss-win-loss pattern in the conference and now sits at 5-5. The explosion on offense, despite a limited bench with a few players suspended, was certainly a surprise. In their previous outing against Saint Louis they needed two overtimes to reach 75 points. Starters Marquise Moore, Otis Livingston II, Jaire Grayer, and Jalen Jenkins all had big games to carry the scoring load in this one. All were efficient and Moore had a career-high 28 points and was one rebound shy of another double-double. He also went 3-for-5 on three-pointers, yes that’s not a typo, something never seen before in a game by him. The team shot over 63% from the field and went 10-for-18 on three-pointers while getting to the free-throw line for 28 attempts. They had a great tempo all night and shared the ball well while never letting the Explorers get into a rhythm despite Jordan Price having a solid night.
Karmari Newman, Ian Boyd, and Danny Dixon were serving suspensions, see post game press conference video below and left Mason with a short bench in this one. Apparently it’s a three-game suspension, Dixon and Newman served their first game against Saint Louis and this was Boyd’s first. Kameron Murrell started last night and Justin Kier came off the bench, and Mason went with those six guys for most of the game. This line-up could have really killed them if not for the great balanced attack we saw from Mason’s key starters. On the other hand you can make the argument that perhaps they play better with a shorter bench because the guys know it’s on them and there’s no help coming in. Depth certainly isn’t an issue when Moore, Jenkins, Otis, and Grayer all play like that. However this recipe seems like a difficult thing for them to replicate on a consistent basis this season. We continue to see flashes of just how good this group can be when they keep their foot on the gas pedal.
Mason’s improved three-point shooting since conference play has really been a big factor in their victories. After last night’s game I believe they lead the Atlantic 10 in three-point shooting percentage among conference games. Livingston and Grayer are continuing to shoot the ball well from behind the arch and now even Moore is joining in on the action. They will need to keep this up if they want to make a push in the standings. Combine this with them getting 20+ free-throw attempts a game and they can be an extremely tough team to face. They are now 12-3 when they make at least 15 free-throws in a game.
Post game press conference:
[Photos by Bill Bride]