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04 December, 2018

The Monday Morning Quarterback

Justin Kier's Career Night Not Enough as George Mason Falls to Vermont

[ PHOTO: GEORGE MASON PATRIOTS ATHLETICS ]
December 4, 2018
Peter Solari, Editor in Chief 


It was more of the same for the George Mason men's basketball team Monday night, as the Patriots fell at home to Vermont, 72-67 in Fairfax, VA. George Mason is now 4-6 on the season, while Vermont improves to 6-3.

Junior Justin Kier had a monster night for Mason, totaling a career-high 32 points on 12-of-15 shooting from the field, but it wasn't enough as the Patriots failed to slow down the Catamounts' offense in the second half, after holding Vermont to 33% shooting in the opening stanza.

Here's the story from the Associated Press:


Ernie Duncan and Anthony Lamb scored 19 points apiece to help Vermont hold off George Mason for a 72-67 win Monday night.                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
Stef Smith added 10 points for Vermont, including two free throws that capped the scoring with six seconds left.                                                                                                 
Duncan hit a 3-pointer that capped a 9-2 opening run and Lamb's 3 with 9:04 left in the first half pushed the lead into double figures at 18-8. The Catamounts (6-3) led by as many as 14 points in the second half and Duncan's foul shot with 2:56 to play made it 61-49 but Justin Kier scored 14 points from there, including a layup with seven seconds remaining, to pull George Mason within three before Smith's free throws sealed it.

Ian Boyd chipped in 12 points, and was the only Patriot other than Kier, who finished in double-digits for the game. Kier also had a game-high 4 steals on the night.

Senior Otis Livingston was quiet for the first time in three contests, as the point guard finished with just 6 points on one field goal. Livingston also turned the ball over a game-high 7 times for the Patriots.

There's no point in sugarcoating it, or boring anybody with the same old commentary. The Patriots simply aren't a very good basketball team right now, and this once-promising season is all but lost. The competition is only going to improve when the Atlantic 10 schedule opens in January, and Dave Paulsen's club hasn't been able to put a complete 40-minute effort together all season.


"Brutal" pretty much sums up Mason's season as-a-whole to this point.

Notably, this is the first time since Paulsen arrived on campus four years ago, that the program appears to be taking a step back. After three progressive seasons, Paulsen's team has failed to live up to the lofty expectations that were placed on them.

While it's premature to say Paulsen's job is in jeopardy, that could all change if the season spirals out of control, which isn't far-fetched.

Mason has looked mediocre against, what should be, inferior opponents, and, again, things aren't going to get easier when league-play starts, so Paulsen needs to nip this thing in the bud pronto.

Paulsen and the Patriots will be back in action Friday, when they'll host another former-Colonial Athletic Association rival, James Madison at EagleBank Arena. Tip-off is slated for 7 PM.



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01 December, 2018

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Otis Livingston Continues to Shine as George Mason Knocks off William & Mary 87-84

[ PHOTO: GEORGE MASON PATRIOTS ATHLETICS ]
December 1, 2018
Peter Solari, Editor in Chief   


It's only been nine games, but there appears to be a theme developing before our eyes when it comes the 2018-19 George Mason men's basketball team.

It was another nail-biting, back-and-forth affair Saturday at Kaplan Arena in Williamsburg, VA, where the Patriots ultimately prevailed 87-84 over former Colonial Athletic Association rival, William and Mary, to earn their second consecutive victory.


Mason's record now stands at 4-5 on the season, while the Tribe fell to 2-6. Here's more from the Associated Press:


William & Mary was up 42-36 at the break and led 49-41 early in the second half before the Patriots rallied to take a 53-52 lead when Justin Kier drilled a 3-point jumper. Chase Audige responded with a 3 as William & Mary grabbed the lead again and held it until Goanar Mar nailed a trey for a 67-64 lead at the midway point. The Patriots held on to the lead from then on but could never shake the Tribe.                                                                                                                                                                        
Livingston, who had 10 points in the first half, finished with 18 while dishing out a career-high 10 assists. Kier and Greene added 15 points apiece with Jarred Reuter contributing 11 for George Mason (4-5).                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
Nathan Knight had 22 points for William & Mary (2-6).

Otis Livingston's early-season slump appears to be a thing of the past, as the senior's 18 points and 10 assists led the Patriots in both categories. His resurgence is crucial if Mason hopes to live up to the hype that surrounded them entering the season.

At this point, the Patriots need to rack-up as many non-conference wins as they can, and more importantly, continue developing into a complete team before their league schedule opens early next year.

If Mason plans on making any noise this season, they're going to have to do it in the Atlantic 10,  and at the conference tournament in March. Mason's non-conference resume isn't anywhere close to that of an NCAA Tournament "at-large" team, and realistically, their only shot at making the field-of-68, is being the A-10's automatic qualifier. If that is going to happen, it's going to have to start soon, so Livingston's really couldn't have picked a better time to break out of his slump. The Patriots are only going to go as far as their senior leader takes them.

It sounds like a monumental task, especially for a team like George Mason, who have been less than impressive so far. But this isn't the first time Mason Nation has been "living on prayer," so they can certainly hang their hats on that.

On a side note, senior Jaire Grayer missed his second consecutive game for the Patriots, with a foot injury.




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Livingston Leads George Mason Over Morgan State 82-75

[ PHOTO: GMU HOOPS ]
November 30, 2018
Peter Solari, Editor in Chief 


After a rough stretch in Florida at the Emerald Coast Classic, the George Mason men's basketball team got back in the win column on Wednesday with an 82-75 win over Morgan State at EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, VA.

Here's more from the Morgan State Athletics:


Otis Livingston II scored five of his game-high 22 points in the final two minutes to help George Mason pull away and beat Morgan State 82-75 on Wednesday night at Eagle Bank Arena. Livingston also led the Patriots with seven assists.                                                                                                                                                                             
George Mason (3-5) rebounded from double-digit losses to Cincinnati and Baylor in the Emerald Coast Classic in Florida.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
Sherwyn Devonish-Prince Jr. and Stanley Davis scored four points apiece during an 8-2 spurt to tie the game at 71 with 2:19 remaining. Livingston made a pair of free throws and converted a 3-point play as the Patriots closed on an 11-3 surge.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
Livingston was 7 of 13 from the field, made all six free-throw attempts and added seven assists. Javon Greene chipped in with 17 points and Justin Kier had 14 for George Mason.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
Kyson Rawls scored a career-high 18 points, and Davis had 15 points and 12 rebounds to lead Morgan State (2-4). Devonish-Prince Jr. finished with 12 points.

While it may seem like another nail-biting win over a mediocre opponent, the bright spot for Mason on Wednesday, was the play of Otis Livingston. After averaging just 8 points per game over the first six contests of the season, the senior point guard has put up 48 points in his last two outings.


Livingston was clutch down the stretch for the Patriots, as Morgan State was within striking distance, trailing 75-73, with just under a minute left in the second half. Livingston was fouled on lay-up and made his free throw to complete the 3-point play. and give Mason some breathing room in the closing seconds.

Coach Dave Paulsen and his Patriots still have a-ways-to-go if they want to be relevant this season, but if Mason is going to make any noise in the Atlantic 10, they're going to do it on Livingston's shoulders. So while the team as a whole hasn't put it all together yet, having their four year starter emerge from his early-season slump, is a big step forward.

Livingston and George Mason will look to continue their winning-ways on Saturday afternoon when they visit old Colonial Athletic Association-foe William & Mary at 4 PM in Williamsburg, VA.



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