Mason survives and advances over Fordham in OT

17240250_10154434708461527_7566929403240806197_oGeorge Mason finally got their first ever Atlantic 10 tournament victory last night in a hard fought battle over Fordham that went to overtime. They advance to face #2 VCU tonight at 6 pm. Hey just like old times in the CAA tournament! Otis Livingston II had an amazing pass underneath to Jalen Jenkins to force overtime as Mason battled back being down by as many as seven points with only seconds remaining. They had looked like they were out after Marquise Moore missed two big free-throws late but they stayed calm and never stopped fighting.

In overtime Mason looked like a different team and never looked back after taking the lead and riding their own momentum. They went 6-for-8 in the extra period with some great shooting from Jaire Grayer and Justin Kier. Here is Kier’s three-pointer that was the dagger:

kierdagger

Marquise Moore had a monster game scoring 25 points and grabbing 19 rebounds (1 shy of the school record). He got to the free-throw line for 10 attempts as well, something they will need to keep doing in order to make it to Saturday in this tournament. As a team they dominated the glass and went 27-for-32 from the free-throw line. This helped them overcome some bad early shooting, especially from three-point range.

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Couple of takeaways from last night:

-Mason went basically only six deep with only Ian Boyd playing more than eight minutes off the bench. We’ve seen them have success with a short rotation, especially when Jenkins is not in foul trouble, and it helped them fight back. However, against VCU tonight they won’t have that luxury. They’ve struggled mightily against VCU’s front line this season and guys like Temara and Relvao will have to see minutes. Will that hurt the rest of the offense if they start off cold shooting again?

-The turnovers are still a recurring an issue that has been plaguing this team for weeks. We all know how VCU can feast off them so they need to find a way to curb this. Jenkins really needs to protect the ball better tonight.

-Three-point shooting can not continue to be this bad if they want to not lose to VCU for the third time this season. The Rams have done a great job fighting Mason in the paint for points and winning the small battles there. They are a terrible match-up for Mason’s lineup. They just can’t dominate the lane and rim against them like they do against other teams. VCU is also good at keeping Mason off the free-throw line so the points are going to have to come from three-pointers. Let’s hope they continue some of the hot shooting we saw in overtime against Fordham. They are going to focus on slowing down Moore again, other guys have got to step up and make shots.

-It will be interesting to see how Dave Paulsen approaches VCU on defense. They focused heavily on Mo Alie-Cox in their last game against them and that left Justin Tillman to run wild and dominate. Their switches and rotations on defense weren’t great against Fordham so hopefully that is a point of emphasis in practice before tonight’s game. They tried to use Jenkins and Boyd in the post to muscle them out and didn’t have much success. I don’t know what else they can try to do but Paulsen better have something up his sleeve.

  • Chris Hirsch

    I had left the team for dead, they showed great heart, poise and resiliency coming back like that. Happy to get that A-10 tournament win monkey off the program’s back. Playing with house money now.

  • Days of Yates

    From despondent to delirious in 36 seconds!! I was really starting to hate Fordham, with their history against us in the tournament, and with shot after off-balance shot falling in for them as they took the lead against us last night. What a tremendous win, and a fitting tribute to the style of play that got us there in the first place.

  • william clifford

    What a great comeback!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOW! The seemingly dead certainly have earned great fan support. That is so very important. It would be nice to see a large crowd for every home game next season. The team needs and deserves that. Kudos to Coach and his staff!

  • dsnjd1

    Two comments. First, as one of the older posters on “GMU Hoops” game this reminded me SO MUCH of a famous ACC Game between UNC and Duke from March 2, 1974 where UNC came back and won after trailing by eight points with 17 seconds to play! (Millennials, Check it out on You Tube if you want.) Second, I HAD to stop watching with Mason trailing by ten or twelve in the second half to attend to another matter, and continued on through the evening thinking they had lost. Ho hum’, I thought. Let’s hope for third or fourth tier “pay for
    play game” at the Pat…, uh’ at Eagle Bank Arena. Living in bum fuck, outside of the D.C. media, and being totally off line about twelve hours off think how surprised I was when I logged-in this morning and found out they won! . I don’t think that has ever happened before. Another win will guarantee at least an NIT bid rather than another “lightly attended pay for play classic” Things are looking up..

    • Gamoo79

      As a fellow old timer, I remember that UNC-dook game myself. Watched it on our b&w tv. In those days we only got 3 channels and had to use tv top antennas and rabbit ears to get decent reception waaay out in Vienna.
      Now for last night. WOW!! What a way to finally get back at Fordham! I figured Marquise might have a monster game the way he was shafted in the A10 POY and 1st team voting. But this!? Sheesh!
      Don’t feel great about tonight, but regardless, I hope the administration is already doing what needs to be done to make sure coach Dave is here for a looong time.

    • Chris Hirsch

      Mason finished seventh in the A10, they aren’t making the NIT.

      • dsnjd1

        Maybe not, but I think another win….and that win would be over VCU (the current gold standard, [along with Butler] of perceived mid-majors in college basketball) … would burnish their profile sufficiently to at least merit an NIT AWAY game against another under performing .500 “Enormous State University” team from the Big East, Big Ten or ACC. (Which might draw a TV audience based on nostalgia alone.) The NIT is owned by the NCAA now, and they are all about ratings. Certainly a “one and out” proposition for Mason, but miles ahead of where this program was two short years ago.