Mason blows past La Salle to reach 5-5 in the A-10

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George Mason once again followed up a loss with a win in Atlantic 10 play last night with a blow out win over La Salle at home 95-75. The team continues it’s win-loss-win-loss pattern in the conference and now sits at 5-5. The explosion on offense, despite a limited bench with a few players suspended, was certainly a surprise. In their previous outing against Saint Louis they needed two overtimes to reach 75 points. Starters Marquise Moore, Otis Livingston II, Jaire Grayer, and Jalen Jenkins all had big games to carry the scoring load in this one. All were efficient and Moore had a career-high 28 points and was one rebound shy of another double-double. He also went 3-for-5 on three-pointers, yes that’s not a typo, something never seen before in a game by him. The team shot over 63% from the field and went 10-for-18 on three-pointers while getting to the free-throw line for 28 attempts. They had a great tempo all night and shared the ball well while never letting the Explorers get into a rhythm despite Jordan Price having a solid night.

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Saint Louis downs Mason in double OT

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George Mason lost to Saint Louis yet again last night, 76-74 on a last second bucket in double overtime. It was a heartbreaking loss even despite the fact that Mason didn’t play well for most of the game. Marquise Moore was not himself and they had to go without him for most of the second half and the overtime periods due to an illness. Otis Livingston II picked up the lack and had one of his best shooting nights of his career. He went 10-for-15 from the field and was 5-of-7 on three-pointers. Jalen Jenkins had a tough time getting going in the post with the fact that the refs were really letting both teams play, especially late in the game. But where they lost this game was on defense as they allowed the Billikens wide open looks most of the night. Yes, they only made 8-of-28 from behind the arch but rotations were just bad last night and it led to a lot of opportunity for Saint Louis.

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Mason continues road success, wins at UMass

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George Mason continues to be road warriors as they won another one today in Amherst to beat UMass again 76-74. It came down to the last possession with Mason’s seniors Jalen Jenkins and Marquise Moore making key plays down the stretch to secure the win for Mason. Jenkins had a key defensive stop against UMass big man Rashaan Holloway and Moore had a key basket to maintain the lead:

Otis Livingston II however carried Mason most of the way in this one and has bounced back nicely these last two games from a bit of a slump. He led Mason with 22 points and helpled the offense run smooth as they finished with 17 assists. As a team they only had five total assists against George Washington. Jalen Jenkins, not being in constant foul trouble, was a big difference for them as well. He played 31 minutes and scored 15 points, had 12 rebounds, and three assists. They are so much better when he stays in the game for longer periods. With Jenkins playing more minutes it was less of a roll of the dice between the backup forwards. Only Troy Temara played among them and showed improvement while giving some of his best minutes of the season. But in the end they need Jenkins to be that rock in the middle to be competitive up front.

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Revolutionary Beat Down

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George Mason has yet to beat George Washington since joining the Atlantic 10 and last night they were blown out at home by the Colonials. The officiating was pretty awful and made the game nearly unwatchable but Mason still was not able to get anything going on offense all night or make any stops on defense. GW connected on 11-of-19 three-pointers and denied Mason in the paint all night. On both ends of the court Mason looked frustrated and let their early mistakes dictate the rest of their game. They would go on runs to close to gap within single digits but then the Colonials would respond with a three-pointer or easy basket inside each time it seemed. Mason also had trouble defending GW’s bigger players Tyler Cavanaugh and Yuta Watanabe who seemed to score at ease inside.

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Mason still can’t beat Saint Louis for some reason

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Yesterday afternoon George Mason lost to Saint Louis for the third straight time in less than a year. The level of effort and execution was just not there for Mason and it was probably their worst performance on the season. Nothing was going right from the start and early fouls on Marquise Moore and Jalen Jenkins really ground the offense to an early halt. It didn’t get much better in the second half even though they shot the ball much better from the field. Everyone seemed to be missing shots at the foul line and just making bad decisions on both ends. The overall flow of the game was weird from the start and the fouls called were inconsistent but Mason still had plenty of chances to climb back in. They only had 11 turnovers on the day but it seemed like Saint Louis was able to capitalize on every single one of them (14 points off turnovers). Sure the Billikens were desperate for a win and it definitely seemed like they wanted it more, but when Mason has been out-willing their opponents all season long with better effort; it was difficult to watch them go down in this one.

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Mason uses strong second half to beat Saint Joseph’s on the road

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Last night George Mason improved to 2-2 in the Atlantic 10 and got their first ever win over Saint Joseph’s. It was a close game at the half but Mason played very well in the second and got another stellar performance from Marquise Moore. Moore had 24 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists and became just the second player in Mason history to post 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 300 assists in a career. You may remember Cam Long reached this feat a few years ago. Mason was able to overcome Jalen Jenkins fouling out early and made some critical shots in the last three minutes including a three-pointer from Otis Livingston II. They finished the night shooting 50% from field and had the edge on free-throw attempts and the boards. They also got good contributions from Ian Boyd, Justin Kier, and Karmari Newman who again showed off his three-point shooting.

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Mason comes up short on the road at St. Bonaventure

screenshot-2017-01-08-07-04-02George Mason came up short yesterday at St. Bonaventure 82-72 in a game where they undid themselves. Too many little mistakes piled up and negated a strong effort by the team. Entering this game the Bonnies had an extremely efficient offense and while Mason kept it close for most of the game, they gave them too many second chances opportunities. They had a poor day at the free-throw line, even Otis Livingston II was missing them, turned over the ball 15 times, and gave up a lot of offensive rebounds. Credit the Bonnies for making Mason’s strength a weakness in this one and they also didn’t let any many runs happen. Every time Mason did start to make a run St. Bonaventure answered with a three it seemed. Mason fought hard and played better in the second half, it was pretty even but they couldn’t seem to dig themselves out from earlier trouble.

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George Mason beats UMass in gritty battle

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George Mason evened their conference record last night with an 86-81 win over Massachusetts at home. Mason had no trouble getting to the foul line in this one after struggling to do so against VCU last Friday. However they left a lot of early points on the court early on but bounced back having 21 more free-throw attempts than the Minutemen. Earlier on it was a run-and-gun battle and UMass was capitalizing on a lot of open looks. Mason played a very good second half with smart defensive adjustments and a balanced scoring attack. Marquise Moore was one rebound shy of yet another double-double but Jaire Grayer had the best night with 16 points, eight rebounds, two blocks, and three three-pointers. Also Grayer and Otis Livingston II had big three-pointers to cap off a big run that sealed the victory for Mason.

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Mason falls to VCU in A-10 opener

vcudec3092George Mason’s nine game winning streak came to an end Friday night as they fell to VCU 73-64. The effort and competitiveness was not missing for Mason but the age and experience may have caught up with them in this one. Also factor in Marquise Moore sustaining a groin in injury in the second half and playing up to level of VCU for 40 minutes became very difficult. They were some rushed shots and other miscues that hurt Mason big time in the second half. However, VCU essentially beat Mason at their own game by getting paints in the paint, getting to the free-throw line and out-rebounding them. The crazy stat is how many times VCU turned over the ball (21) and Mason couldn’t take advantage. The difference was VCU turned Mason’s turnovers into transition points and Mason didn’t. AIso, I can’t emphasize the free-throw battle enough as I kept stressing how important it was going to to be for Mason heading into this one. Only two Mason players shot free-throws all night for a total of 8 attempts compared to VCU’s 20.

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Mason rolls on past Prairie View to make it nine in a row

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George Mason extended their winning streak to nine games after a Thursday afternoon win over Prairie View A&M. It was a sloppy game for the Patriots as they turned over the ball 20 times but were strong on the defensive end to make up for it. Despite some of the sloppy plays they got back on track in the second half and dominated the boards and the battle at the free-throw line. Marquise Moore and Otis Livingston II carried the team on offense and gave us this beauty:

Although Moore and Livingston shouldered the scoring load, it was a balanced attack on all other areas. Justin Kier and Ian Boyd played a lot of great minutes, each collecting six rebounds and contributing to Mason’s tough defense. The domination on the glass is incredible, I don’t care who you are playing, final advantage was 59-29. The recipe to win for Mason is simple and they are forcing their brand onto other teams.

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So now Mason has had their final tune-up before the showdown with VCU on Friday night. Something that is interesting leading into that game is that Mason has had a lot more possessions over the last couple of games. Yes, it’s against some lower competition but these teams are pressing them and they are turning up the tempo and making opponents pay. VCU will press all day on defense and while I wouldn’t want to see the entire game be played at that pace, I think Mason is more than ready to face that style and take advantage. The Rams have been coughing up the ball a lot more than Mason has and winning the battle on the glass and getting to the free-throw should be the big keys for Mason.

Box Score

[Photos by Bill Bride]