George Mason begins road swing Saturday at St. Bonaventure

george masonGeorge Mason (11-4, 1-1) begins a two-game road swing Saturday with a contest at St. Bonaventure (9-5, 1-1).

Tip-off between the Patriots and Bonnies is set for 5 p.m. Saturday’s game will be televised nationally on NBC Sports Network, featuring commentary from Kenny Rice (play-by-play) and Blaine Fowler (color). In addition, Bill Rohland will call the game on the A-10 Digital Network, with pre-game coverage beginning at 4:45 p.m.

* The Patriots have won 10 of their past 11 games and have already equaled their win total (11) from the entire 2015-16 season.

* The Patriots are 3-0 on the road for the first time since 1985-86. Mason won two road games in the entire 2015-16 campaign.

* Last time out, Mason grabbed its first conference win of the season with an 86-81 victory over UMass Wednesday inside EagleBank Arena.

* The Patriots trailed 31-18 early, surged back to lead 41-39 at the half and hung on in the second stanza to pick up the important league victory.

* Mason started the game 4-of-11 (.364) from the free throw line, but made 13-of-17 (.765) from the stripe over the final minutes. The Patriots have shot 81.6 percent (93-114) from the line in the last five minutes of games this season.

* Four Patriots posted 16+ points in the game, led by Marquise Moore, who tallied a game-high 24 points (7-13 FG) to go along with nine rebounds and five assists.

* Moore is the top rebounding guard in the nation (10.6 rpg) and is sixth nationally in defensive rebounds/game (8.6). He is the only guard in the country with 8+ double-doubles.

* Moore is up 963 points and is just 37 away from becoming the 34th 1,000-point scorer in program history.

* Redshirt-senior Jalen Jenkins chipped in 18 points, seven rebounds and four assists vs. UMass. The Brooklyn product leads the Atlantic 10 in field goal percentage (.700) and is second in offensive rebounds/game (2.6).

* Sophomore point guard Otis Livingston II missed his first free throw since Nov. 15 in Wednesday’s game vs. UMass. He had made a school-record 34 leading into the contest. Livingston II is sixth nationally in free throw percentage (.933) this season and is Mason’s all-time leader in the category.

* Livingston is ninth in the A-10 in assist/turnover ratio (1.8) and 12th in steals (1.5 spg).

* In conference play, Mason is shooting 42.9 percent (15-35) from 3-point range, but just 42.3 percent (41-97) from 2-point territory.

* The Patriots made nine 3-pointers vs. UMass and are now 6-0 when they make 7+ 3-pointers this season.

* Saturday’s game is the first of three straight for the Patriots against A-10 teams with “Saint ” or “St.” in their school name.

The Patriots commit just 17.1 personal fouls per game, ranking the team 56th nationally in the category. Mason registers 16.5 fouls per game in wins, but 18.9 fouls/game in losses.

Saturday’s game marks the seventh all-time meeting between George Mason and St. Bonaventure in men’s basketball. The Bonnies lead the series 4-2 and hold a 2-1 edge in games played in Olean. In last season’s matchup, St. Bonaventure pushed past Mason, 77-58, on Jan. 6 in Fairfax. Otis Livingston II posted 11 points and four assists in the setback.

A LOOK AT THE BONNIES (9-5, 1-1 A-10)
St. Bonaventure was picked fifth out of 14 teams in the 2016-17 Atlantic 10 preseason poll. The Bonnies posted an 8-4 non-conference record and opened league play with an 89-77 win at UMass and a 90-74 home loss to league favorite Dayton. SBU ranks first in the A-10 and 24th nationally in scoring defense (84.4 ppg), but is 297th out of 351 teams in scoring defense (78.3 ppg). A-10 Player of the Year candidate Jaylen Adams leads the team and is third nationally in scoring (23.4 ppg). He also leads the cofnerence and is 18th nationally in assists/game (6.1) while shooting 40.5 percent from deep. He forms a potent duo with junior Matt Mobley, who ranks fourth in the A-10 in scoring (20.4 ppg) and shoots 41.4 percent from 3-point range. Mobley also grabs 6.4 rebounds per contest. Denzel Gregg chips in 12.6 ppg and a team-best 7.5 rebounds per contest for the Bonnies.

The Patriots wrap up the trip with a contest at Saint Joseph’s on Tuesday (Jan. 10). The game will tip at 7 p.m.and air live on the American Sports Network.

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