George Mason missed a big opportunity for another quality road win on the season but lost the battle last night against Dayton. They were undone by turnovers as Dayton scored 29 points off Mason’s 17 turnovers. Marquise Moore and Jalen Jenkins didn’t have the big games we are used to seeing and Mason struggled offensively for the beginning of the game. They battled back and fought to grab a lead shortly in the second half by sticking to attacking the rim and out-rebounding the Flyers. Defense became an issue as Mason was sending Dayton to the free-throw line far too often and struggling to make shots themselves on the other end. Moore, Livingston, and Grayer were a combined 11-for-35 from the field, despite Grayer having a solid second half. Grayer finished with a career-high 13 rebounds and also added 13 points but it wasn’t enough. I would say it’s pretty difficult for Mason to win a game like this with Moore and Livingston only going to the free-throw line for seven combined attempts.
Positive takes from the game is that Mason didn’t quit and showed a lot of toughness. At one point Dayton went on a 20-0 run, which Mason then responded with a 13 point run of their own. They didn’t deviate from their game plan, something they will definitely need to remember in the Atlantic 10 tournament. Dayton did a great job defensively last night and didn’t let Marquise Moore get going. They fought Mason hard in the paint and didn’t give any easy baskets. Unlike most other opponents they did so without constantly fouling the Patriots and that took away a ton of opportunity last night. Dayton is the best team in the A-10 this year and the best team based on defensive efficiency. Having said that there were certain stretches during the second half where it looked like Mason had a chance to pull off the upset and I like that. But in the end this was another example of how Mason needs their top 4 guys to be efficient on offense each night collectively or else they don’t stand much of a chance against the league’s best.