George Mason posts 82-75 victory over Morgan State
Mason’s offensive efforts outlasted the full-court pressure of Morgan State, in the tight scoring affair. The game was tied at 71-71 with 2:19 to go, but the Patriots outscored the Bears 11-4 down the stretch to secure the victory
“What I like is that our team found a way to win,” head coach Dave Paulsen said.
Senior guard Otis Livingston II led the Patriots in scoring, with 22 points. His performance moved him up two places to 11th on Mason’s all-time scoring list. The Linden, N.J., product passed Jai Lewis and Rudolph Jones and now has 1,537 career points.
He also led the team in assists, finishing with seven. With his fourth, he became the fourth player in Mason history with 400 career assists. He’s now up to 403 in his career
Sophomore Javon Greene also had a solid all-around performance with 17 points and eight rebounds. He also made a season-best three 3-pointers on five attempts (.600).
“They [Livingston II and Greene] played together the way that they both play together every day in practice,” Paulsen said. “Javon shoots the ball exceptionally well in practice and he has emerged as our best defender.”
Justin Kier added 14 points, five assists and three steals in 35 minutes on the floor.
Mason got off to a strong start in the beginning of the first half. Morgan State had a two-point advantage to start the game, followed by a Mason 12-1 run in the minutes to come to make it 12-3. The Bears increased their defensive pressure to full court for much off the remainder of the game. This pressure allowed Morgan State to fight back within one point of Mason at the 12:55 mark (14-13).
AJ Wilson then added two consecutive major plays – on the offensive end with a dunk and a blocked shot on the defensive side of the court. Wilson blocked four shots during the first half, finishing with 5 by the end of the game.
Morgan State continued to keep the score close, inching their way to the lead (21-20) with 9:26 left in the half. From here, Morgan State took a 14-3 run to lead the Patriots 32-23, which marked the largest advantage of the game for the Bears.
Back-to-back baskets by Jamal Hartwell II sparked the Patriots’ comeback. Hartwell contributed five points from a 3-pointer and fast break layup, assisted by Livingston II. Mason closed the half on a 12-5 run and took a one-point lead (35-34) into the break.
Mason never lost the lead after the conclusion of the first half. Despite being in the lead, Morgan State didn’t let Mason get away. The Bears trailed the Patriots by two (75-73) with 1:10 left in the game. But Livingston II’s 3-point-play broke Mason away from Morgan St., giving the Patriots a 78-73 edge with less than a minute to go.
Mason travels to Williamsburg to battle William & Mary on Saturday. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m. The game will be streamed on TribeAthletics.tv