George Mason picks up 73-67 win over Fordham

george masonGeorge Mason (17-8, 7-5) sent a Homecoming crowd of 6,676 home happy with a 73-67 victory over Fordham (10-15, 4-8) on Saturday night inside EagleBank Arena.

The Patriots were up seven (36-29) at the half and led by as many as 13 in the second half. Fordham took advantage of a 7+ minute Mason scoring drought to pull within one (63-62) with 1:18 to play, but the Patriots scored six of the next eight points and eventually put the game away at the line.

With the victory, Mason has now won its last three league contests.

“This was a great win for our group,” head coach Dave Paulsen said. “It was a heck of a crowd and our guys were very energized by the support. We played really well for 32 or so minutes and did a good job defensively. There were stretches where we came unglued a bit with some bad turnovers, but Fordham is a very difficult team to play against. There are more positives than negatives to take away from today. We received contributions from all parts of the roster tonight.”

Mason held a impressive +20 (44-24) edge on the glass in the game and enjoyed a 9-0 edge in second chance points. The Patriots shot 46.2 percent in the game while overcoming 18 turnovers forced by the swarming Fordham defense.

Sophomore Otis Livingston II led the Patriots with 19 points (5-11 FG, 8-8 FT) while dishing out four assists in 36 minutes of work.

Senior Marquise Moore chipped in his 15th double-double of the year (15 pts, 11 reb) and tallied a team-high six assists, while redshirt-senior Jalen Jenkins matched him with his fourth double-double of the season. The Brooklyn product tallied 12 points and grabbed a career-best 13 rebounds in 27 minutes.

Fordham led 8-7 at the 15:30 mark of the first half, but from there, the Patriots put together an 18-4 surge over the next seven minutes to build a 25-12 advantage. Mason remained in front by 13 (29-16) with 5:25 to play in the half, but Fordham began to force a series of Patriot turnovers and cut the lead to 36-29 at the break.

Mason built its lead back to 13 (49-36) on a lay-in from Livingston at the 13:14 mark of the second half and led 59-45 on free throws from Karmari Newman with 10:05 to go.

A lay-in from Troy Temara put Mason up 61-48 with 8:54 left, but from there, Fordham forced five turnovers by the Patriots over the next five minutes while Mason went more than seven minutes total without a point.

Fordham pulled within two on a pair of occasions (61-60, 63-62), but could not get over the hump and the Patriots held on for the win.

Mason now remains at the home for the second game of a three-game homestand. The Patriots will host Richmond (15-9, 9-3) on Tuesday (Feb. 14) during a Valentine’s Day showdown inside EagleBank Arena. The 7 p.m. contest will be televised on MASN and streamed nationally on Facebook Live.

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