George Mason rockets past Richmond, 93-70

george masonGeorge Mason (18-8, 8-5) put together a lovely Valentine’s Day effort en route to its fourth-straight win – a 93-70 victory over Richmond on Tuesday night inside EagleBank Arena.

The Patriots led 41-28 at the half, but the Spiders came all the way back to within four (67-63) with 6:03 to go. From there, Mason took control, using a 22-2 run over the next five minutes to put the game away.

With the victory, Mason sweeps the season series with Richmond and moves into sole possession of fifth place in the A-10 standings with five league games remaining. The Patriots are now 17-5 over their last 22 contests.

“This is an outstanding win for us against a high quality team,” head coach Dave Paulsen said. “There were the ebbs and flows of the second half and we were on our heels a bit late in the game, but the lead quickly went from five to 20. Karmari Newman was huge off the bench for us and Ian Boyd, Troy Temara and Jaire Grayer made big plays to begin that run in the second half. Our guys did a great job tonight.”

Mason shot 53.7 percent for the game and made an impressive 29-of-32 attempts (.902) from the free throw line. The Green & Gold are now a perfect 7-0 when they shoot 50 percent or better from the floor, and 14-3 when they shoot 70 percent or above from the line.

The Patriots held Richmond to 46.2 percent (30-65), but just a 28.6 mark (6-21) from beyond the arc.

As usual, the Patriots crashed the glass with a purpose, holding a +21 (42-21) edge on the boards. Mason is now +41 (86-45) over the past two contests.

Senior Marquise Moore led the Patriot effort with his third-straight double-double and 16th overall on the year. The Queens, N.Y., product tallied 22 points, 12 rebounds and four assists in 38 minutes of work.

Sophomore Otis Livingston II chipped in 17 points (6-10 FG) and two assists while redshirt-senior Jalen Jenkins added 17 points (6-8 FG), seven rebounds and three assists. With his 10th point of the game, Jenkins became the 35th 1,000-point scorer in Mason history.

Sophomore Jaire Grayer tallied 13 points and five rebounds while freshman Karmari Newman was huge off the bench, with a career-best 12 points (2-3 3pt FG) in 18 minutes of work.

Mason turned the ball over six times in the first eight minutes while Richmond opened up a 16-13 lead. The Patriots responded with an 8-2 spurt to take a 21-18 lead and extended the advantage to nine (31-22) on a 3-pointer from Grayer at the 4:27 mark of the half. Mason padded its cushion to 13 (37-24) on free throws from Kier and the Patriots led by that margin at the half (41-28). In all, Mason’s run of 24-8 midway through the half gave the Green & Gold the sizable lead at the break.

The Patriots upped the lead to 16 (54-38) on free throws from Grayer with 15:39 to go, but the Spiders used a 12-1 run over the next 3+ minutes to cut the Mason advantage to five (55-50).

Richmond was within four (65-61) with 6:33 to play, but a big-time 3-point play from Jenkins built it back up to seven (70-63). A jumper from Livingston upped the lead to 12 (75-63) with 4:54 to go, and the advantage hit 20 (85-65) on free throws from Moore with 2:45 remaining.

Mason wraps up a three-game homestand with a Saturday contest vs. league power Rhode Island. Tip-off between the Patriots and Rams is scheduled for 4 p.m. The game will be televised nationally on NBC Sports Network.