George Mason wins at Saint Joe’s, 75-67,
The Patriots trailed by one (32-31) at the half and with 2:37 to play (61-60), but Mason shot 60.9 percent (14-23) in the second half and outscored the Hawks 15-6 over the game’s final minutes.
The victory marked Mason’s first ever victory over Saint Joseph’s (8-7, 2-2) in five all-time games between the teams.
“This was a gritty, gritty win. I’m so proud of our guys,” head coach Dave Paulsen said. “Neither team could get traction at times but we came up with some key stops. In the second half, We did a much better job on the glass and really hit some timely shots.”
Moore led all players in the game in points (24), rebounds (10), assists (7) and steals (4) while making 8-of-14 shots from the floor and 8-of-9 free throw attempts.
In the process, Moore eclipsed major career scoring and rebounding milestones. He now joins Cam Long as the only players in Mason history with 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 300 assists in a career.
“Those numbers are nothing short of extraordinary,” Paulsen said of Moore. “It speaks to his versatility. Tonight’s game was a microcosm of that versatility. He hit his free throws and his seven assists were critically important.”
In addition to Moore, sophomore Jaire Grayer hit double figures (11 pts, 4-8 FG) for the fourth-straight game and grabbed six rebounds in 34 minutes. Freshman Karmari Newman added 10 points and hit 4-of-5 field goal attempts (2-3 3pt FG), while sophomore Otis Livingston II chipped in 10 points and hit a big 3-pointer late in the second half.
The Patriots shot 50 percent (26-52) overall in the game and limited the Hawks to 42.2 percent (27-64), including a paltry 23.8 percent (5-21) from beyond the arc. Mason was +2 (31-29) on the glass and held an 18-12 edge in bench scoring for the game.
The Patriots jumped out to a 13-6 advantage, but the Hawks rattled off eight straight to take a 14-13 lead. Saint Joe’s extended that lead to four at 27-23 and 32-28 late in the half, but Moore converted a critical bucket, plus the harm, as the half wound down. The basket pulled the Patriots within one (32-31) at the break.
Ian Boyd posted five straight points to push Mason ahead by four (36-32) just two minutes into the second half but the Hawks rallied to tie the game up at 40 at the 15:27 mark.
The Patriots led by five (45-40) after a lay-in from Newman with 12:47 to go and a 3-pointer from freshman Justin Kier kept the Patriots ahead by four (59-55) with 5:15 remaining.
The Hawks rallied back to take the one point edge (61-60) with 2:50 left, but at that point, Mason stepped up on the road. With SJU ahead 62-61, Livingston hit a big triple to put the Patriots back up two (64-62). Then, Moore went 2-of-2 from the line on consecutive trips to extend the lead to six (69-63) with 43 seconds remaining.
The Hawks could not move closer than four (69-65) for the remainder of the game.
The Patriots return home to host Saint Louis on Saturday (Jan. 14) inside EagleBank Arena. The 2:30 p.m. contest will be televised nationally on NBC Sports Network.