George Mason closes out 65-61 victory at Fordham
The Patriots (16-15, 5-13 A-10) led by two (61-59) with 3:24 to play, but closed out the win by holding the Rams (8-22, 2-16 A-10) without a field goal for the remainder of the contest. A big Jordan Miller jumper off the curl gave Mason a two-possession lead with less than a minute to go.
Mason enters the A-10 Tournament Wednesday as the No. 12 seed and will battle No. 13 Saint Joseph’s at 1 p.m. inside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
“This was a gutty performance from our guys,” head coach Dave Paulsen said. “I thought we buckled down defensively and answered a lot of the challenges they put before us. We were depleted with Jamal [Hartwell II] going down with an injury and Xavier [Johnson] struggling with his knees. We got a great boost from Jason Douglas-Stanley. I’m really proud of our guys and hopefully this give us some momentum heading into the A-10 Tournament.”
The Patriots boosted their offensive with a strong performance beyond the arc. Mason knocked down 10 3-pointers on 23 attempts (.435), marking the most triples and highest 3-point percentage by the Patriots since the Nov. 24 win over Nebraska.
Junior Javon Greene came off the bench to bolster the Patriots with a team-high 19 points. He nailed 5-of-7 3-point attempts (.714), dished out four assists and made two steals on the day.
Miller added 17 points (6-10 FG), five rebounds and four assists in nearly a full game for the Green & Gold (38:33).
Mason held a 27-8 edge in bench scoring over Fordham, which included six big points from Douglas-Stanley (2-4 3pt FG).
The Patriots held a +5 (35-30) edge on the glass and limited Fordham to just four offensive rebounds in the contest.
The Patriots used an early 13-2 run to build a 20-10 advantage at the 9:09 mark of the opening stanza. Fordham responded with an 11-0 spurt over the next four minutes to take the lead at 21-20. From there, each team got red-hot from beyond the arc. Two 3-pointers from Douglas-Stanley and another from Greene helped the Patriots take a 33-30 edge into the break.
The Rams tied it up at 39-39, but Mason went back up four (48-44) on free throws from Oduro at the 11:10 mark of the second half.
Fordham took a 2-point edge (52-50) after a 3-pointer from Erten Gazi with 8:46 to go, but at that point, the Patriots used a 7-0 spurt to build a 57-52 edge with 5:43 remaining.
Fordham stormed right back to tie it at 57, but a Miller jumper gave Mason a 61-57 edge with 3:44 to go. The Patriots would not relinquish the lead from there.
Mason’s 1 p.m. game vs. Saint Joseph’s in the A-10 Championship First Round Wednesday will be broadcast on ESPN+.