George Mason defeats Jacksonville State, 67-60, improves to 9-1
“In 26 years of coaching, I’ve had a lot of teams play this kind of game and lose. That’s the sign of a resilient team,” head coach Dave Paulsen said.
One of the strengths of this Mason bunch is its balance and ability to receive contributions across the roster. Tuesday night proved to play out the same, led by sophomore Jordan Miller, who poured in 19 points (8-13 FG) to go along with five rebounds in 27 minutes. He hit a pair of big time shots late in the game to help clinch it for the Green & Gold.
Fresh off his MVP performance in the Cayman Islands, redshirt-junior AJ Wilson continued his swarming attack in Fairfax with a solid 11-point, 8-rebound, 6-block evening. The six swats by Wilson marked a season-high for the Laurel, Md., product. He entered the game sixth in the nation in blocks per game (3.8) and is now fifth all time at Mason with 112 career rejections.
Junior Javon Greene chipped in a solid all-around 13 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals, while freshman Xavier Johnson shined for Mason at point guard, distributing a career-best eight assists to go along with four points and three rebounds in 23 minutes.
JSU held a one point edge at the break (29-28), then stuck with the Patriots every time it looked like Mason would pull away.
Mason led 43-37 at the 11:30 mark of the second half and 58-52 with 5:02 to go, but each time, JSU would climb back in with a timely 3-pointer or key play.
The Patriots led by two (60-58) with 2:26 left, but Miller hit a big time fade away jumper to give Mason the four-point edge. Two free throws from Greene made it 64-58, and the Gamecocks could not move closer than that for the remainder of the contest.
The Patriots continued their defensive prowess in the contest, holding Jacksonville State to 26.1 percent from 3-point range (6-23) and 40 percent overall. Mason was +10 (45-35) on the glass and held a 20-9 advantage in fast break points.
Mason returns to EagleBank Arena on Saturday night with a contest against DMV foe American. Tip-off between the Patriots and Eagles is scheduled for 7 p.m.