04 December, 2018

The Monday Morning Quarterback

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

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.

The Monday Morning Quarterback

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