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George Mason captures #RevRivalry, 62-55, over George Washington

george masonGeorge Mason extended its winning streak to five games with a defensive-minded, 62-55 victory over George Washington Saturday night in the first of two Revolutionary Rivalry contests this season.

Before an excellent crowd of 6,833 inside EagleBank Arena, the Patriots locked down on defense and gutted out the victory. The win improved the Green & Gold to 7-1 in Atlantic 10 play (13-8 overall) and kept Mason a half-game ahead for first place in the league standings.

Mason allowed GW to shoot just 36.8 percent (21-57) for the game and 21.4 percent (6-28) from 3-point range. Gaining momentum from stops early in the second half, Mason rattled off a 17-3 run that opened up a 48-33 lead with 8:35 remaining.

Missed free throws by the Patriots made it interesting down the stretch, but the Colonials could not move closer than six for the remainder of the contest.

“I told our guys in the locker room that there’s no such thing as a knockout punch,” head coach Dave Paulsen said. “You just have to control the stuff you can control – defensive energy, taking care of the ball and getting good shots. I thought we did that and defended at an exceptionally high level. The game ended ugly, but that shouldn’t detract from some really good basketball in the second half.”

The Patriots committed just nine turnovers in the game, and forced GW into 18 miscues, which led to a 16-8 edge in points off turnovers for the game.

Senior Otis Livingston II led the Green & Gold with 15 points, while junior Justin Kier added 11 points and 11 rebounds to tally his seventh double-double in the past 11 games.

Redshirt-junior Jarred Reuter added 10 points, six rebounds and four assists in another strong all-around game for the Marion, Mass., product. He’s now averaging 12.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and shooting 57.9 percent over the past two games.

Mason missed their first seven shots and GW took advantage, jumping out to leads of 6-0 and 11-5. The Patriots responded with a 6-0 run to tie it up at 11-11, then built a 22-19 lead after a Kier jumper with 4:32 to go in the opening stanza. Mason extended the lead to four (27-23) with 1:45 left and took a 27-25 lead into the break.

The Patriots used an early 9-0 run in the second half, including a momentum-building 3-pointer from freshman Jason Douglas-Stanley, to extend the lead to 10 (40-30) at the 12:08 mark. The run ballooned to 17-3 after two-straight buckets from Kier. That sequence made it 48-33 in favor of the Green & Gold with 8:34 left in the contest.

The Green & Gold remained in front by 13 (55-42) with 4:29 left in the game, but at that point, missed free throws by the Patriots allowed the Colonials to mount a comeback.

GW cut it to 10 (56-46) at the 3:38 mark and was within six (56-50) with 1:07 to go. GW had a chance to get closer, but Mason picked up a charge on the defensive end and extended the lead back to nine (62-53) with 13 seconds remaining.

With the victory, Mason improves to 8-4 in EagleBank Arena this season. The Patriots have now won two-straight over the Colonials after dropping their first nine A-10 contests against GW from 2014-18.

The Patriots have won 11 of their past 14 games.

“I’d like to first acknowledge our tremendous crowd,” Paulsen said. “It’s the best we’ve had all year and I attribute that to our great students being back in session and the support of our community.”

Mason now takes a seven-day competitive break before returning to game action next Saturday (Feb. 2) with a road contest at VCU. Tip-off between the Rams and Patriots is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. inside the Siegel Center. The game will be televised nationally on NBC Sports Network.