Struggles continue for Mason

BasketballLivingston1_RonAira-CreativeServices-770x375George Mason have only won twice in of their last seven games including a loss last night to Georgia Southern. Mason looked bad on both ends, turning over the ball 21 times (!) and shooting 28% from the field and 17% on three-pointers. Otis Livingston II and Grayer combined for 12 points, difficult for Mason to get anything going with each of these guys having an off night. AJ Wilson came in and played a lot of good minutes and picked up his first career double-double (13 pts, 10 reb) and we saw Kier being more assertive on offense. It still appears that Dave Paulsen is figuring things out with this year’s limited roster but right they really seem to lack perimeter defense and a go-to scorer on offense.

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Mason can’t complete comeback at Auburn

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George Mason found themselves down 22-2 on the road at Auburn yesterday. It was another slow start for Patriots, something that is started to become a recurring theme in their games this season. The early turnovers and fouls killed them early and like many games this year they made a big comeback in the second half. At one point they took the lead but a scoring drought after a 9-0 run to bring them back within four points left them on the losing end. Auburn’s man-to-man defense was much better than Mason’s and Otis Livingston II was struggling to get free for the most of the game. The Tigers didn’t let them in the paint much at all and as a result their offense was limited for long stretches. Jaire Grayer came up big in the second half and freshman Javon Greene had his breakout game of the year scoring 17 points and hitting five three-pointers. However, Auburn owned the glass and out-rebounded Mason 46-30 while scoring 15 second chance points.

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George Mason erases 4-point deficit to beat JMU in final 10 seconds

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Ian Boyd had a step back three-pointer with 7 seconds remaining while Goanar Mar was being fouled underneath the basket. Mar sank the two clutch free-throws and Mason was on top to seal the victory. Mar has now made his last 25 straight free-throw attempts. Crazy finish to game that looked like Mason was in danger of losing after a first half with 10 turnovers and some early foul trouble. It was another game were we didn’t see this group of young players give up and they fought to the end.

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Mason comes up short in Cancun

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George Mason went 0-2 in the Cancun Challenge last week against Louisiana Tech and Fresno State. Both games we saw the Patriots struggle in the first half and then try to claw their way back in the second half. LA Tech took advantage of Mason’s early struggles and never looked back. Fresno State was able to grind out the win late but in both games Mason really struggled on their perimeter defense. Meanwhile, Goanar Mar continues to be the team’s budding star as he earned all-tournament team honors:

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Mason has come from behind victory over CSUN in overtime

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Mason needed over time to get the win last night against Cal State Northridge with Jaire Grayer injuring his knee in the first half and two other starters struggling. Freshmen Goanar Mar (22 points, 11 rebounds) and AJ Wilson (12 points, 8 blocks) helped fuel Mason’s come from behind victory. Otis Livingston II finished with 20 points and five assists but Ian Boyd and Justin Kier struggled to get going. Mason needed it’s younger players to step up and they answered the call. I think they proved in this game that despite their depth being limited, they have eight guys who all can play and play well together as a unit.

Dave Paulsen said in the post game presser that he did not believe Grayer’s knee injury to be serious but we’ll certainly know more in the next few days with the Cancun games getting underway. However it was great to see this team overcome a bad start and get a lift from the bench in AJ Wilson.

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Mason runs past Binghamton in the second half

George Mason picked up their second win of the season against Binghamton last night with Otis Livingston II scoring 19 points. Mason struggled in the first half with Jaire Grayer getting into some early foul trouble. He ended the half with zero points and they were down six at halftime. Binghamton had early success shooting the ball but Mason’s defensive adjustments in the second half held to them to 26% shooting from the field. They worked much harder in the second half to keep Binghamton off the boards and ended the game out-rebounding them 36-29, Grayer led everyone grabbing 10.

Some takeaways:

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George Mason pushes #16 Louisville but falls 72-61

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George Mason played a very good first half and was leading for the majority of the game yesterday at Louisville. With about five minutes remaining Mason kept missing opportunities to reclaim the lead. Jaire Grayer, Ian Boyd, and Justin Kier had almost all the scoring as Otis Livingston II struggled mightily (1-for-10) against the Cardinals’ defense. Louisville used their size to keep Mason out of the paint and deny a ton of close shots. Nevertheless, the Patriots fought hard to on both ends rebounding but missed a lot of second chance opportunities. The fact that Otis was so limited and they were in this game til the final minutes shows just how good these guys could be this season despite their depth issue.

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What to look for from George Mason today at Louisville

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Quick turnaround for George Mason today as they are in Louisville to take on an embattled Cardinals team. This will almost undoubtedly be the toughest opponent the Patriots face all year. Louisville is definitely a team that can greatly expose the match-up issues that could plague Mason all year long. Louisville only has one guy under 6’6″ in their starting lineup. So it will be interesting to see Dave Paulsen’s game plan is in this one considering he didn’t get much from AJ Wilson or Greg Calixte on Friday night. This team will most likely punch Mason in the mouth early and we will have to see how a team this young and with such a short rotation, responds.

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George Mason narrowly escapes Lafayette in the opener

First off, the new video boards, lighting and overall game day experience is very much improved this season. The intro video was awesome and it pumped up the crowd, we’ve been waiting a long time for something like that. For game George Mason edged out Lafayette in the closing seconds with some clutch full court defense and free-throw shooting. Not the start to the season we wanted, especially when you consider the Leopards were picked by most to finish last in the Patriot League.

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Photo by Alexander Rogge

Mason started off hot on offense, pushing the tempo early and getting transition baskets. Freshman Goanar Mar, who with the current roster limitations, started at the five but looked very confident. His first basket was a three-pointer and hit two more on the night on his way to 11 points.

As expected Jaire Grayer led the way with 17 points and nine rebounds and looked assertive all night long. Otis Livingston II uncharacteristically went 0-for-3 from the free line but finished with 14 points, six assists, and only one turnover. Justin Kier was the late game hero, going 5-for-5 from the line on a night with very few free-throw attempts for either side. He finished with 15 points and four steals, career highs for him.

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Daniel Relvao leaves program for personal reasons, leaves team with 8 scholarship players

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Four days from the season opener and today we have news that redshirt sophomore Daniel Relvao is leaving the program. I was told he is leaving for personal and family concerns and this loss leaves Mason basketball with just eight scholarship players heading into the season. Mason was already paper thin at his position and although I predicted freshman Greg Calixte would most likely be the guy this year, this doesn’t leave the team in great shape.

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