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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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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Mason’s season officially over after CBI loss to Loyola

2017-03-16 10_55_48-Patriots fall to Loyola in CBI - George Mason University AthleticsGeorge Mason fell to Loyola (Md.) last night in a game they didn’t look all that interested in. Hosting the first round of the CBI tournament costs the school money and Mason had one of their worst performances of the season. Mason shot 33% and was out-rebounded by the Greyhounds. Loyola came out strong and just looked like they wanted the game more than Mason did. They out-hustled Mason all game long, who struggled badly to make any shots in the first half. Marquise Moore and Jalen Jenkins combined for 7 total points in their final game as Patriots. Dave Paulsen opted to go with the young guys for the majority of the minutes, a teachable moment I’m sure. After the game Paulsen said that perhaps it was a mistake to play in the tournament:

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Mason falls to VCU in Atlantic 10 quarterfinals

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First of all, George Mason basketball exceeded expectations this season and overachieved to a 20-win campaign that has brought this program new life. How Dave Paulsen got these guys to buy into his system of hard work, especially on the glass and on defense, is nothing short of amazing. What a turnaround and yeah it sure would have been nice to finally knock VCU out a conference tournament but the program just isn’t there yet. But boy did this group fight, all season long. Seniors Marquise Moore and Jalen Jenkins tried to keep Mason in this one late but fell short. Moore set an A-10 tournament record averaging 18 rebounds a game but his 11 points just weren’t enough. As a team they didn’t let turnovers or VCU’s big front line beat them but they failed to shoot the ball well when they needed it, especially on three-pointers.

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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:

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Mason edges out Duquesne on senior night

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George Mason escaped with a win on senior night narrowly edging past Duquesne 63-62. It came down to the last possession but Mason was able to get the win and recover on a night where they had a tough time from 3-point range. They missed their first 16 or so attempts from there but were able to offset that with 18 points off turnovers. Overall it wasn’t a great came for the Patriots. There were a lot of bad possessions, lapses on defense, and bad shooting for most of the game. The effort didn’t seem great either and the early missed shots seemed to slowly eat away at their energy. Struggling for offense at times, freshmen Ian Boyd and Karmari Newman provided a lift but in the end only Otis Livingston II and Jalen Jenkins finished in double figures.

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Another letdown in Foggy Bottom

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George Mason fell to George Washington 83-74 yesterday and has now lost for the eighth straight time to the Colonials since joining the Atlantic 10. The Patriots are now losers of three straight and appear to limping into the conference tournament. Two weeks ago they were in the conversation of competing for a top four spot in the standings and now they are currently looking at an 8 seed if the tournament started today. Otis Livingston II had his least productive game of the season and was benched towards the end of this game, finishing with just two points and four turnovers. Turnovers were again an early issue for Mason and helped to derail an offense that was shooting over 55% on the day. Defensively Mason had the same problems they did against GW earlier in the season. They struggled to cover Yuta Watanabe and Tyler Cavanaugh as the Colonials did a great job exploiting mismatches. Frustrating to watch considering Mason has been the smaller team against essentially every team they’ve played this season but again failed to make adjustments to counter at all what GW was doing. If that had happened all season long Mason would be in the bottom of the A-10.

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George Mason shows no quit but doesn’t have enough against Dayton

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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.

Moore DAYPositive 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.