George Mason picks off UMass in Amherst, 76-74
Mason (14-7, 4-4) led 43-34 at the half, then withstood a furious second half rally by the Minutemen to escape with the team’s sixth road win of the year.
The Patriots are now 6-1 in road games this season and 3-1 on the road in Atlantic 10 play in 2016-17. They also are 6-1 in games following a loss this season.
“This is a great win for our team. We talked before the game that we needed to play with great toughness,” head coach Dave Paulsen said. “We didn’t play at that level mentally in our Wednesday game vs. GW and I think we did today. We made one or two more energy plays down the stretch and we dodged a bullet at the end to pick up the win.”
Sophomore Otis Livingston II put together his best game of the A-10 season, tallying a game-high 22 points (7-14 FG) while adding five rebounds and three assists in 35 minutes on the floor.
Livingston was one of four Patriots in double figures. Redshirt-senior Jalen Jenkins held his own in the post against UMass’ Rashaan Holloway while registering his third double-double of the season. Jenkins posted 15 points, 12 rebounds and three assists to help the Patriots grab the road win.
He and the Patriots also limited Holloway – the Minutemen’s leading A-10 scorer – to just seven points.
Sophomore Jaire Grayer chipped in 12 points (2-3 3pt FG) and senior Marquise Moore notched 10 points, eight rebounds and a team-high five assists in 34 minutes of work.
The Patriots shot 51.7 percent in the first half and 46.7 percent for the game, while making 6-of-10 (.600) 3-point attempts. Mason also was +6 (42-36) on the glass and dished out 17 assists, just one off the team’s season high.
UMass (12-10, 2-7) held a 14-13 lead six minutes into the game, before an 8-0 run by the Patriots put Mason in front by seven (23-16) at the 11:04 mark of the period. The Patriots pushed ahead by 13 (34-21) on a 3-pointer from Justin Kier and stayed in front by 11 (41-30) on a lay-in by Jenkins with 1:15 to go in the half.
The Patriots entered the break ahead by nine (43-34).
Mason extended its edge to 10 (55-45) at the 14:29 mark of the second half, but UMass rattled off five straight to pull within five (55-50). A Tyrn Flowers 3-pointer pushed the Minutemen within three (61-58) with nine minutes to play and UMass was within two (65-63) with 6:22 left.
A Donte Clark lay-in pulled the Minutemen to within one (66-65) at the 4:47 mark, but lay-ins from Moore and Livingston II pushed the Patriots back up five (70-65) with 3:32 to play.
UMass cut it to two (76-74) with seven seconds left, but after Livingston missed the front end of a 1-and-1, a 3-pointer by the Minutemen’s DeJon Jarreau missed wide right and the Patriots secured the win.
The Patriots wrap up their two-game road trip with a contest at Saint Louis on Wednesday (Feb. 1). The 7 p.m. (ET) contest will be televised on Fox Sports Midwest.
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