All-around contributions lift George Mason to 84-67 win at Rhode Island
The Patriots limited Rhody to 35.3 percent in the first half to jump out to a 38-27 lead at the break. Mason went up by as many as 17 (58-41) at the 12-minute mark of the second half, but URI stormed back to get within seven (66-59) with 6:54 remaining. But Mason made key plays when it needed to, and used a late 9-0 run to put the game out of reach for the Rams.
Four Patriots posted at least 14 points in the game, while Mason’s stable of perimeter defenders limited URI stars Jeff Dowtin and Fatts Russell to a combined 11-of-31 mark (.355) from the floor and 0-for-12 clip from 3-point territory.
Mason held the Rams to just 12 percent (3-25) from beyond the arc for the game.
“That was a great effort for our guys,” head coach Dave Paulsen said. “They rallied around the absence of Goanar Mar. They banded together and they defended exceptionally well. There were a lot of good contributions from a lot of guys.”
After Mar fractured his foot at the end of Wednesday’s game vs. Davidson, all members of the Mason roster dedicated their efforts on this road trip to him.
The results on part one of the trip were encouraging.
Junior Justin Kier led Mason once again with 19 points on just 10 shots (8-10), while adding 10 rebounds to notch his sixth double-double in the past seven games. In two games this week, Kier averaged 22 points and 11 rebounds for the Green & Gold.
Senior Otis Livingston II chipped in 14 points and dished out a game-high seven assists, while sophomore Javon Greene tallied 15 points (4-8 FG) and lent his usual defensive prowess to the Mason perimeter effort.
Freshman Jordan Miller – who had yet to play this season during a potential redshirt – rallied at the opportunity to pick up his teammate, Mar. With Mar encouraging him in all facets of the game since Wednesday, Miller shined in his debut.
He tallied 11 of his 14 points in the first half, providing an incredible catalyst while Mason built its early lead. He finished 6-of-8 from the floor, with two blocks and two steals in 22 minutes of work. He’s just the third Mason player in the past 10 years to post 10+ points in his Patriot debut.
Redshirt-junior Jarred Reuter proved critical down low against URI star big man Cyril Langevine and finished with eight points, seven rebounds and two assists in 19 minutes.
Freshman Jason Douglas-Stanley hit two big 3-pointers in the first half and finished with six points while playing solid defense in a season-high 11 minutes.
Mason shot 45.5 percent for the game and made 7-of-17 (.412) 3-point attempts.
Javon Greene nailed a 3-pointer to open the game, but from there the Patriots missed their next seven shots as Rhody jumped out to an 8-3 lead. Behind four quick points from Miller in his first collegiate game, Mason used a 6-0 spurt to go up one (9-8) at the 13:38 mark of the opening half. With Mason ahead 15-14, the Patriots exploded for a 15-1 run, including triples from Greene and freshman Jason Douglas-Stanley to balloon the Patriot lead to 11 (30-19) with 5:38 to play in the stanza.
Douglas-Stanley and Livingston II poured in addition 3-pointers to make it 36-23 in favor of the Patriots, and Mason took a 38-27 lead into the break after an acrobatic tip-in from Miller to end the stanza.
In his first 20 minutes of collegiate ball, Miller wowed with 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting, to go along with a pair of blocks and steals. Mason held Rhody to 35.3 percent shooting (12-34) and an 0-of-11 mark from 3-point range in the opening half.
Buckets from Reuter and Kier to open the half extended the Mason lead to 42-27 and the Patriots went up 16 (47-31) on a 3-point play from Greene at the 17:48 mark. Rhody used a 5-0 spurt to cut the lead to 10 (51-41), but Mason rocketed back with a 7-0 spurt – including a 3-pointer by Livingston II – to go up 17 (58-41) with 12 minutes to play.
Rhody fired back with an 8-2 spurt to cut it to nine (62-53) with nine minutes to go, but Mason got it back to 13 (66-53) after scores from Reuter and Livingston II at the 8:26 mark.
Again, URI pushed back, getting to within seven (66-59) on the strength of a 6-0 run with 6:54 remaining. With Mason ahead 68-61, Kier hit a tough jumper to push it to nine. Then, Ian Boyd read a Rhody pass perfectly, picking it off and taking it to the hole to put the Patriots back up 11 (72-61). The run extended to 9-0 after a Greene lay-in made it 77-61 with 2:59 left. Rhode Island could not move closer than 13 for the remainder of the game.
The Patriots continue their road trip through New England with a Wednesday contest at Massachusetts. Tip-off in Amherst is scheduled for 7 p.m. The game will be televised in New England on 11 Sports/NESN+ and also will be available nationally on ESPN+.