Second-half drought sinks George Mason in 69-57 loss to Saint Louis

george masonGeorge Mason could not overcome a second-half drought during a 69-57 loss to Saint Louis Wednesday night at EagleBank Arena.

Mason (15-15, 4-13 A-10) led 29-28 at the half, but the Patriots could convert just two field goals over a 14-minute stretch in the second stanza, allowing SLU – a team ranked in the top-60 of the NCAA’s NET metric – to build a sizable advantage (51-35).

The Billikens (22-8, 11-6 A-10) outscored Mason 20-3 during the sequence.

The Patriots stormed back with a 10-0 run to cut it to four (53-49) with 2:50 left, but the Billikens responded with a 7-0 spurt to ultimately put the game out of reach.

“We battled and competed in the first half, but the start of the second half was disappointing,” head coach Dave Paulsen said. “We turned it over a number of times and dug too big a hole for ourselves. They’re playing as well as any team in the league. We really fought on the glass in the first half but not nearly as much in the second half. We need to be able to sustain that.”

Sophomore Jordan Miller led Mason in scoring for the second straight game, tallying 13 points to go along with five rebounds, including four on the offensive end.

Freshman Josh Oduro added his second straight double-digit effort, chipping in 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting.

Fellow freshman Xavier Johnson added eight points, a team-high three assists and two steals in 30 minutes of action.

Mason has controlled the rebounding edge for much of the A-10 slate, but SLU – the No. 1 rebounding team in the league – took the battle, 36-31 on Wednesday.

Mason shot 38.5 percent for the game and committed 18 turnovers, while Saint Louis turned it over 16 times but shot an efficient 51 percent (26-51) from the floor.

The Billikens jumped out to a 9-0 advantage and led 14-8 at the 12:36 mark. Mason cut it to three (17-14) after a 3-pointer from Miller and went up one (19-18) on an Oduro jumper at 8:16. The Patriots led by one at the break (29-28).

Prior to the game Wednesday, Mason honored seniors Ian Boyd and Justin Kier for their contributions to the program. Despite missing either the entire season (Boyd) or the majority (Kier) due to injury, the duo is still responsible for an impressive 1,718 combined points in their Mason careers.

The Green & Gold also honored senior student managers Parker Lamarre, Ashkan Motamedi and Giancarlo Pacheco.

The Patriots wrap up the 2019-20 regular season with a Saturday contest at Fordham. Tip-off in the Bronx is scheduled for 2 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.

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