George Mason defeats St. Joseph’s, 62-55

george masonGeorge Mason locked down its perimeter defense in the second half en route to a 62-55 triumph over Saint Joseph’s on Homecoming Saturday.

Before 5,649 fans inside EagleBank Arena, Mason limited the Hawks to just 1-of-14 shooting (.071) from the 3-point line in the second half and made 5-of-7 triples on the other end to help capture the win.

Mason made 44.2 percent of its attempts overall and shot 50 percent (13-26) in the second half. Mason held the Hawks to 33.9 percent (19-56) for the contest.

“This is a satisfying win for us,” head coach Dave Paulsen said. “We’ve really tried to establish how we react when adversity strikes. Defensively, we just really stepped it up and really made them [Saint Joseph’s] work for everything. To hold that team to 33 percent is just a really gritty effort.”

Junior Javon Greene returned to his offensive form with his fourth 20-point effort of the season to go along with eight rebounds in 39 minutes. He made 6-of-8 shots and 4-of-5 3-pointers in the second half.

Redshirt-junior AJ Wilson chipped in 13 points, six rebounds and four blocks while providing an electric rim presence throughout the contest.

Sophomore Jamal Hartwell II added 13 points (3-4 3pt FG) and made a number of big shots, while fellow sophomore Jordan Miller posted 10 points, six rebounds and tied a career high with four assists.

The Hawks nailed their first three 3-pointers and jumped out to a 12-4 advantage. The Hawks led 17-6 at the 9:02 mark of the first half and were up 20-12 with 6:42 to go. But at that point, the Patriots ripped off a 17-4 run to end the half and take a 29-24 edge into the break.

Mason extended the lead to six (38-32) on a triple from Hartwell II at the 14:40 mark of the second half and led by nine (51-42) on a Wilson lay-in at 6:01.

A Greene 3-pointer gave Mason a 56-48 edge with 1:59 left, but SJU moved back within three (58-55) with under a minute to play. But the Patriots iced it on a big jumper from Hartwell II on the next possession.

Mason is right back in EagleBank Arena to face the highest ranked opponent ever to come to Fairfax. The No. 5 Dayton Flyers invade EBA on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The game will be televised locally on MASN and regionally on Stadium.

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