George Mason is now fighting for position in the top of the A-10 standings after a blowout 93-70 win over Richmond last night. They have now beaten Richmond five straight times and have won 10 of 12 meetings against them. Marquise Moore picked up his 16th double-double on the season (22 points, 12 rebounds) and Jalen Jenkins scored 17 while joining Mason’s 1000-point career club. Freshman Karmari Newman who recently returned from a three game suspension, came in to provide a big lift off the bench, scoring a career-high 12 points. Mason overcame a turnover filled first half by controlling the game in the paint and at the free-throw line. They went 29-for-32 at the line while only allowing the Spiders eight total free-throw attempts. So here’s an update on that famous stat again, Mason is now 15-3 when they make at least 15 free-throw attempts in a game.
Mason never stopped attacking and while Richmond furiously fought back with quick baskets and cutting the lead to single digits, Mason continued to draw contact and get points at the rim. They also had a 2-to-1 advantage on rebounds for the night, further showing their dominance in the paint and continued tough effort on the glass. Moore’s jumping ability to get some of these rebounds is still amazing to watch, even though we have seen him do this all season long. If Mason continues to play at this level and this style, they will be one of the most feared teams in Atlantic 10 tournament. Definitely did not think before the season started that I’d be writing that last sentence in mid February.
The key for Mason now is that they have finally found some consistency within conference play and are even being dominate on their home court. They have now won 5 of their last 6 and have scored 93 or more points twice during that stretch while now boasting at top 85 offense on Kenpom. In conference only games they have the 4th most efficient offense while leading in three-point shooting.
Yes, Marquise Moore can hit three-pointers now. You might want to guard him out there… pic.twitter.com/A9WwSUDNaT
— Ryan Kish (@gmuhoops) February 15, 2017
Instead of scoring droughts, that plagued them at times earlier in the season, they now go on big runs, especially in the second halves of games. They were like a freight train in this game and just kept going. When it happens they frustrate teams and you even saw Richmond head coach Chris Mooney get a technical in this one. Moore and Jenkins force teams to put a body on them to stop them and it often doesn’t go well for opponents. The confidence in their game is very high right now and they are playing extremely well as a team on both ends. This will certainly be put to the test in their next two games versus Rhode Island and at Dayton.
[Photos by Bill Bride]