George Mason wins at Richmond, 82-77

george masonGeorge Mason (13-6, 3-3) bounced back in a big way Sunday afternoon, knocking off Richmond 82-77 before a capacity crowd inside the Robins Center.

Mason shot 57.1 percent in the first half and led 49-34 at the break. The Spiders crawled back to within five (75-70) with 3:43 to play, but the Patriots limited Richmond (11-8, 5-2) to 2-of-8 shooting down the stretch and hung on for the big road victory.

The win is Mason’s fourth-straight against the Spiders and ninth victory in the last 11 meetings.

“This was a very gratifying win for our team,” head coach Dave Paulsen said. “I thought we would play well, I just didn’t know what the result would be given the quality of our opponent today. We had a great week of practice and did a good job of bouncing back after a tough loss against Saint Louis. In stretches, we played some of the best basketball we’ve played all year. We shared the ball well and made some big shots.”

Senior Marquise Moore posted his league-leading 12th double-double to pace the Patriots in the win. The 6-foot-2-inch guard – who entered the game third in the nation in defensive rebounding – tied his career high in scoring (25) and added 13 rebounds while tallying three blocks and two steals in 37 minutes of work.

Redshirt-senior Jalen Jenkins held his own against A-10 Player of the Year candidate T.J. Cline, recording 16 points (7-11 FG) and grabbing eight rebounds while matching up against his fellow senior.

Sophomore Jaire Grayer added nine points and shattered his career high with 12 rebounds, while sophomore Otis Livingston II chipped in 11 points and dished out a team-high four assists.

Freshmen Justin Kier (9 pts, 4-7 FG) and Ian Boyd (9 pts, 2-3 FG) also put together solid performances for the Green & Gold.

Mason shot 46.9 percent (30-64) overall in the game, held a +11 (48-37) edge on the glass and posted an impressive 46-28 edge in points in the paint for the game.

The Patriots made 10 of their first 16 shots (4-7 3pt FG) and led 24-12 at the 11:52 mark of the opening half. The Spiders used a 10-2 run to pull within four (26-22), but with Mason ahead 36-29, the Patriots took command to end the half. Mason closed the period on a 13-5 run – capped by two acrobatic Livingston lay-ins – to take a 49-34 advantage into halftime.

The 49 points marked Mason’s second highest first half scoring output this season.

The Patriots extended their lead to as many as 23 (63-40) early in the second half, but Richmond began to mount a comeback as the period progressed. The Spiders used a 12-2 run to cut the lead to 13 (69-56) with 9:55 left, then used another 12-2 run to move within five (75-70) with 3:43 to go.

But the Patriots played great defense over the next few possessions while forcing the Spiders into an 0-of-7 spurt from the floor. The defensive stand allowed the Patriots to move back ahead by nine (79-70) with 1:08 to play and Mason closed it out from there.

The Patriots return to EagleBank Arena to re-ignite the Revolutionary Rivalry with George Washington on Wednesday (Jan. 25). The 7 p.m. contest will be televised live on the American Sports Network.