George Mason tallies record 10th A-10 win with 77-63 triumph over Richmond

george masonGeorge Mason (16-12, 10-5) made a welcome return to defensive form and hit some big shots from beyond the arc during a solid 77-63 victory over Richmond (12-16, 6-9) Wednesday night inside EagleBank Arena.

Mason limited the Spiders to 38.9 percent (21-54) from the floor and just 5-of-18 from 3-point range (.278) in the win. The Green & Gold also hit 10 3-pointers for the first time since January 3 and shot a blistering 55.6 percent from deep.

With the victory, the Patriots reach 10 A-10 wins for the first time in their six seasons in the league. Mason sits at 10-5 in the conference with three league games remaining.

“That was a great team victory and a great bounce back for our guys,” head coach Dave Paulsen said. “Our guys really stayed the course. It was really good to have Greg Calixte and Ian Boyd back. The strength of our team has been our depth and we have not had our complete roster available to us for awhile. There was a lot of joy in that locker room after the game.”

With the return of Calixte and Boyd, Mason was able to wear down the Spiders with a relentless attack from different guys throughout the game. A total of six Patriots scored at least six points, while four reached double figures. A total of 56 of Mason’s 77 points came from freshmen and sophomores on the night.

Freshman Jamal Hartwell II put together a breakthrough offensive night to lead the Patriots while also playing outstanding defense on Richmond star Jacob Gilyard. Hartwell II tallied a career-best 15 points and made 5-of-9 3-pointers (.556) in a personal-best 31 minutes on the floor. He limited Gilyard to just 2-of-10 shooting and eight points. In the Feb. 6 game at Richmond (which Hartwell II missed due to injury), Gilyard poured in 28 points on 9-of-13 shooting.

Fellow freshman Jordan Miller added his second double-double of the season (13 points, 10 rebounds, 6-9 FG), while sophomore Javon Greene added 14 points (4-7 FG) and six rebounds. Calixte chipped in 10 points off the bench and grabbed four rebounds in 18 minutes.

Mason was +9 (40-31) on the glass in the game and dished out 15 assists on 28 field goals. The Patriots have out-rebounded their opponent in six of the past seven games.

Richmond made four of its first five shots and jumped out to a 10-2 lead. The Spiders extended it to 10 (16-6) but Mason cut it to five (20-15) after Miller’s fourth basket at the 10:08 mark of the stanza. Richmond led by six at 29-23, before Mason closed the half on a thrilling 9-0 run, capped by a deep Hartwell II 3-pointer to end the period.

After Richmond started the half 4-of-5 from the floor, Mason limited the Spiders to just 5-of-21 for the remainder of the stanza.

Richmond moved back in front by three (35-32) early in the second half, but back-to-back triples from Hartwell II helped the Green & Gold extended the lead back out to seven (44-37) at the 13:50 mark. The Patriots led by that margin at 50-43, before Mason pushed it out to 12 after a jumper from Greene with 8:56 to play. Hartwell II hit his fifth 3-pointer to extend the edge to 15 (65-50) and Mason made it 19 (75-56) on a triple from Green with 2:04 remaining.

The win gives Mason 11 home victories this season – the most by a Patriot squad since 2011-12. The Patriots are now 15-11 all-time vs. the Spiders in Fairfax.

Mason hits the road for a nationally-televised showdown with Saint Louis on Saturday (March 2). Tip-off inside Chafeitz Arena is set for 3 p.m. (ET). The game s first will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network.


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