George Mason locks in to earn 77-71 victory over Saint Joseph’s
Mason (9-7, 2-1) trailed 37-33 at the break and 66-64 with 4:45 to go during a thrilling back-and-forth game which featured 12 ties and 13 lead changes. But the Patriots clamped down to get stops, much like they did against Dayton Saturday, to come out on top. The Patriots held SJU (8-10, 2-5) to two field goals over the final five minutes while outscoring the visitors, 13-5.
“Both teams played extremely well, particularly on the offensive end,” head coach Kim English said. “I’m really proud of our group for digging in. I’m proud of our atmosphere – our students were great. We need you on your feet and loud. Fairfax County, Northern Virginia – we need you at these games. Our guys are giving it their all for George Mason University. A great effort all around tonight.”
Junior Josh Oduro exploded for an A-10 personal-best 31 points (12-22 FG), to go along with five rebounds, three assists and two steals in an outstanding overall effort.
Graduate student D’Shawn Schwartz added 14 points on 6-of-12 shooting. He’s averaging 19.3 points and shooting 48.9 percent through three A-10 contests.
Junior Davonte Gaines added nine points (4-5 FG) and nine rebounds, while sophomore point guard Ronald Polite III chipped in a season-best nine points (4-5 FG) to go along with two assists and two steals. Junior Xavier Johnson dished out five assists with no turnovers on the night.
Saint Joseph’s tied a season-high with 13 made triples while shooting a sizzling 50 percent from beyond the arc. But Mason forced 17 Hawk turnovers which led to a sizable +11 (18-7) edge in points off turnovers for the Green & Gold.
Offensively, despite shooting just 22.2 percent (5-22) from deep, the Patriots pounded the ball inside and made an impressive 22-of-39 attempts (.718) against a Hawk defense ranked 44th nationally in 2pt FG defense (.448). Mason held a whopping +32 (56-24) edge in points in the paint for the game.
Mason committed just four turnovers in an exceptionally executed performance for the Green & Gold. The Patriots also turned five offensive rebounds into a +9 (11-2) edge in second chance points.
The Patriots now wrap up a three-game homestand Wednesday night against preseason A-10 favorite St. Bonaventure. Tip-off inside EagleBank Arena is scheduled for 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.