George Mason powers past Longwood, 97-60, to win eighth-straight

george masonGeorge Mason led by 20 at the half and never looked back en route to a 97-60 victory over visiting Longwood Monday night inside EagleBank Arena.

The victory extends the Patriots’ winning streak to eight games (its longest since 2010-11) and sends Mason into a 10-day competitive break sporting a 9-3 record. The 37-point victory marked the Patriots’ largest since a 41-point win (101-60) over UNC Wilmington on Jan. 3, 2009.

“This was a great performance by our guys,” head coach Dave Paulsen said. “This had all the elements of a trap game after winning a good number in a row, winning a couple on the road and anticipating exams starting. These guys are tired, but it’s a sign of maturity that we came out and attacked and played unselfish basketball.”

The Patriots shot 46 percent (29-63) for the game and spread the wealth offensively, with seven players tallying at least seven points. Mason made a season-best 10 3-point field goals and shot 43.5 percent from beyond the arc in the game.

Sophomore Jaire Grayer posted a season-high 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting and made a season-best three 3-pointers on six attempts.

Grayer was one of three Patriots’ who scored 17. Sophomore Otis Livingston II chipped in four assists and three steals and made all seven of his attempts from the free throw line. The Linden, N.J., native – who entered the game third nationally in free throw percentage – extended his streak to 30 consecutive free throws made.

Senior Marquise Moore was the third member of the 17-point club (6-11 FG) and also grabbed eight rebounds in 25 minutes of work.

Freshman Justin Kier posted career highs in points (12) and 3-point field goals made (3), while redshirt-senior Jalen Jenkins chipped in nine points and eight rebounds in 21 minutes.

Off the bench, sophomore DeAndre Abram tallied eight points (3-4 FG) and four rebounds in just eight minutes of work.

Defensively, Mason held Longwood to just 35.6 percent shooting, marking the third straight game the Patriots have held their opponent under 40 percent from the floor. Mason also was +14 (46-32) on the glass and held a 25-10 edge in points off turnovers. The Patriots generated a season-best 10 steals and forced Longwood into 10 miscues.

The Patriots claimed an early 8-6 lead, before creating some distance on the strength of a 13-2 run. Mason capped that spurt with free throws from Livingston to go up 13 (21-8).

Two triples from Kier and a 3-pointer from Grayer on consecutive possessions fueled another run for Mason – this time 11-0 – to put the Patriots up 20 (34-14) with 7:46 to play in the half. The Patriots kept that lead at the half (50-30) thanks to six 3-pointers in the stanza.

Mason built its lead up to 26 (67-41) with 12:59 to play in the game and took its largest lead of the contest (96-59) on a triple from Abram with 1:37 to go.

Mason will now take a 10-day competitive break during the final exam period. The Patriots return to EagleBank Arena next Thursday (Dec. 22) to host Prairie View A&M at noon.

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