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George Mason wins rock fight with A-10 leader Dayton, 50-49

George MasonGeorge Mason opened an important three-game A-10 homestand with a 50-49 triumph over league power Dayton on Saturday night inside EagleBank Arena.

Mason (8-7, 1-1) held the Flyers to just two field goals over the final nine minutes and converted timely shots when needed down the stretch to defeat Dayton (12-7, 4-2), which came to EBA sporting wins over Kansas, Miami (Fla.), Virginia Tech and St. Bonaventure.

“This was a hard-fought game that was indicative of what you’d expect in a league game,” head coach Kim English said. “Team styles can change, but it’s about adjusting in the game and making plays on both sides of the ball to come out with the victory. We had to compete at the highest level and execute. We have great respect for this Dayton team. This was a great first league win for our group.”

Mason limited the Flyers to just 31 percent from the floor, marking a season-low for a Patriot opponent this season. Dayton also shot just 5-of-23 from beyond the arc (.217). Mason held the Flyers, which entered the game 15th nationally in 2pt FG percentage (.563), to just 37.1 percent (13-35) from inside the arc.

Graduate student D’Shawn Schwartz led the Patriots with a game-high 17 points (3-7 3pt FG) and grabbed six rebounds in 35 minutes on the floor. Schwartz has averaged a team-best 22 points through two A-10 games so far this season.

Junior Josh Oduro returned from a one-game injury absence to make a critical impact on both sides of the ball. The Gainesville, Va., product notched his third double-double of the season and sixth of his career with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Oduro also blocked four shots and dished out two assists in 34 minutes.

Junior Davonte Gaines chipped in eight points, six rebounds and three assists.

Mason shot just 36.2 percent for the night, but made 10-of-25 3-pointers (.400) and committed just four second-half turnovers.

The teams played to a 10-10 tie, before Mason took a 15-14 edge on a triple from Schwartz at the 8:14 mark of the first half. The Patriots extended the lead to four (20-16), but Dayton used an 8-2 spurt to go up 24-22 with 2:03 to go in the stanza. Mason took a 25-24 edge into the half on the strength of a late Schwartz 3-pointer.

The Patriots used a 7-0 spurt early in the second half to build a 32-28 lead at the 15:22 mark. Mason led 41-37 with 10:59 to play, but Dayton used a 7-0 run of its own to go back up 44-41 with 8:41 left.

But the Flyers would manage just two field goals for the remainder of the game.

Mason led 50-46 with 40 seconds left, but the Flyers hit a 3-pointer to move within one (50-49) with 10 seconds to go. The Patriots could not score on its final possession, but got a big stop on Dayton’s last chance to secure the triumph.

The 50-49 victory marked Mason’s lowest scoring output in a win since a 48-45 victory over Boston University on November 24, 2012.

Mason remains at home to host Saint Joseph’s on Monday (January 24) inside EagleBank Arena. Tip-off between the Patriots and Hawks is set for 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.

augusta free press
augusta free press
augusta free press

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