George Mason dispatches UMBC, moves to 11-1
The Patriots jumped out to a 9-0 advantage and lead for the entire game. UMBC could not get within single digits over the final 18:29 of the contest.
With the victory, the Green & Gold are now 8-0 at home to start the year for the first time since 2010-11.
“I thought that was a good performance from our guys, especially after a two-week break without games,” head coach Dave Paulsen said. “We had a productive two weeks of practice. Defensively for the vast majority of the game, we played at a high level.”
Mason held UMBC to just 37.3 percent shooting for the game and a 4-of-19 mark from 3-point range (.211). The Patriots also forced 16 Retriever turnovers and held a +8 (16-8) edge in second chance points.
Sophomore guard Jordan Miller led the Green & Gold with 17 points (7-11 FG), five rebounds and three steals in 35 minutes of work, while fellow sophomore Jamal Hartwell II (6-11 FG) chipped in 14 points.
Junior guard Javon Greene notched a solid all-around 14 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals, while redshirt-junior forward AJ Wilson grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds and finished with nine points. He entered the game ranked third in the country with 3.7 blocks per game and improved his average with five swats against the Retrievers.
Freshman guard Xavier Johnson chipped in nine points, five rebounds and two steals in 27 minutes on the floor.
Mason led by seven (31-24) at the break, but quickly pulled away in the second half. The Patriots opened the stanza on a 9-0 spurt to make it 40-24, then increased the lead to 18 (54-36) on a Johnson driving lay-in with 7:34 to play. The Patriots went up 19 (58-39) on free throws from Greene with 6:40 to go.
The victory also marked the 800th in the program’s 54-year history.
Mason standout guard Justin Kier missed Saturday’s game vs. UMBC with a left ankle sprain. He is listed as day-to-day.
The Patriots now take an eight-day break for the holidays, before wrapping up non-conference play with a matchup at Big 12 foe TCU on Monday, Dec. 30. The 9 p.m. (ET) contest will air locally on MASN and regionally on Fox Sports Southwest.