Javon Greene goes for 39, but George Mason falls to Richmond, 97-87
Greene’s 39 points marked a new high for a George Mason player in the building, which opened during the 1985-86 season. The McDonough, Ga., product connected on a sizzling 15-of-22 shots from the floor, made five 3-pointers, tallied four assists and picked off a season-best five steals in the career outing.
Despite Greene’s performance, the Spiders – which own wins over three Power 5 schools – ultimately prevailed with an outstanding shooting night in which the team made 67.3 percent (33-49) of its attempts.
The shorthanded Patriots fought hard with only eight scholarship players available, as Jamal Hartwell II missed the game due to illness and three other Patriots – including 2019 A10 Most Improved Player Justin Kier – are out for the foreseeable future.
“I love coaching this team,” head coach Dave Paulsen said. “It’s a heck of a fun team to compete with and cheer for. The way they came back from adversity, losing Justin and not having Jamal, and being undermanned, they battled their rear ends off. We’re not where we want to be right now, and some of that is in our control and some of it isn’t. But these guys took some positive steps forward today in the areas which they could control. If they keep doing that, we’re going to have the chance to be a good team. It’s just going to take a bit longer than we wanted because of the road blocks which have been thrust in front of us.”
Mason put together one of its best offensive performances of the season, shooting 54.2 percent (32-59) from the floor, although the Green & Gold could not quite match the top-50 KenPom offensive unit sent out by the Spiders.
In addition to Greene, redshirt-junior AJ Wilson tied his career high with 19 points (7-11 FG) to go along with eight rebounds, while Jordan Miler added 12 points and made 2-of-5 3-pointers. Freshman Xavier Johnson rounded out the scoring leaders with 10 points while dishing out four assists in 37 minutes.
Mason made 10 of its first 12 shots while jumping out to a 23-13 lead. Richmond answered back with a 22-3 run which allowed the Spiders to move ahead by seven (32-25) at the 4:52 mark. Richmond took a 42-39 edge into the break.
The Spiders pulled ahead by nine (68-59) with 9:11 to go in the game, but four straight points from Greene pulled Mason back within four (68-64) with 8:02 to go. But Richmond got the lead up to as many as 14 (84-70) and Mason could not get back within more than eight for the rest of the game.
The Patriots are back in EagleBank Arena Wednesday night for the first of two matchups vs. Massachusetts (7 p.m.).