10 January, 2019

The Monday Morning Quarterback

George Mason Drops First A-10 Game in Hard-Fought Loss to Davidson

January 10, 2018
Peter Solari, Editor in Chief 

Junior Justin Kier continued his hot streak, recording his fifth double-double in six games, and the George Mason men's basketball team turned in another strong defensive effort, but none of that was enough, as the Patriots fell to Davidson 61-56 at EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, VA Wednesday night.

Mason (8-8) is now 2-1 in the Atlantic 10, while Davidson (11-4) improves to 2-0.

The Patriots struggled offensively all night, even falling behind the Wildcats by 15 points at one point. Defensive stops allowed them to claw their way back and make it a  game late, but their offensive woes were simply too much to overcome on this night.

Here's more from George Mason University Athletics:

While the lead changed five times in the first half, the Patriots shot 21.7 percent (5-23) from the field and the Wildcats were at 32.3 percent (10-31).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Davidson's fast break offense extended their lead over Mason early in the second half. The Wildcats opened with a 7-2 run over the Patriots in under the first two minutes of second half play. Mason got into foul trouble early in the half, with three key players with three fouls. This led Mason utilize their bench in their comeback, as substitute players totaled 13 points in the contest.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Although Davidson advanced their largest lead of the game to 15 points at the 14:01 minute mark (42-27), Mason continued to fight back. Kier brought the Patriots alive through his offensive and defensive efforts. He scored 21 out of his 26 points in the second half.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 A jumper by Livingston II, left Mason just two behind Davidson (48-46) with 7:31 remaining in the contest.  Mason remained close but Davidson head a five-point lead (56-51) with 34 seconds to go. Mason had a chance on that last possession with under 12 seconds left, but Greene could not convert his 3-point attempt and Davidson held on for the win.

Kier led all scorers with 26 points and 12 rebounds. No other Patriot scored in double figures, with Javon Greene's 7 points and 8 rebounds being the closest.

"I just tried to bring energy," Kier said. "When we were down 15, we were down on ourselves.  So our coaches just told me to lead and bring energy and I tried to do that to fuel the fire for everyone else."

For the game, Mason was an abysmal 16-of-50 (32%) from the field, including just 2-for-20 from 3-point range. Otis Livingston pulled down 6 rebounds for the Patriots, and Jarred Reuter had 5 boards of his own. Mason had a 43-36 rebounding edge in the contest.

"Obviously we really struggled offensively, but I thought we defended exceptionally well," coach Dave Paulsen said. "Holding a team like Davidson to 61 points, it was a phenomenal effort."

Davidson, whose offense only shot 37% (22-for-60) and 4-for-29 from deep, was led by Kellan Grady's 17 points and 6 rebounds. Jon Axel Gudmundsson chipped in 13 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 steals for the Wildcats.

Mason had won six of eight coming into the contest, and a matchup with a very good Davidson team was thought to be a measuring stick on just how good the Patriots can be. Despite the outcome, it's hard to say they failed the test. They definitely didn't ace it, either, but they passed. Albeit barely, they passed, and there are a few positives to take from this loss.

Remember, Davidson is no slouch. They were picked by pretty much everyone to finish at or near the top of the A-10 season, so there's no shame in losing to a team like that. Also, the Patriots had a chance to tie the game in the closing seconds, so they certainly proved that they can hang with the best in the league.

Unfortunately for the Patriots, the negatives are overshadowing the positives in a big way right now, and they go beyond this game and this poor offensive showing.

First and foremost, it's important to give Davidson their due. If we're going to praise Mason for their strong defensive effort, then it's only fair that we at least consider the possibility that the Wildcats were equally as good, if not better, defensively. Perhaps it's more accurate to say that Mason wasn't "bad" offensively, and instead, they were simply shut down by a good team.

What's most concerning for the Patriots is their seeming inability to win close games, which they did with regularity in 2018. Last season, Mason was 10-1 in games decided by 5 points or less. Including Wednesday's loss, they're just 2-5 in that category this season.

The Patriots returned their entire roster from the 2017-18 season, so their experience and success in closes games was thought to be a strength of this team, but they seem to have regressed in that department.

The Patriots will now hit the road for their next two games, starting with a matchup against Rhode Island this Sunday, January 13th. Tip-off is set for 5:30 PM ET on NBC Sports Network.

The Monday Morning Quarterback

About The Monday Morning Quarterback -

Author Description here.. Nulla sagittis convallis. Curabitur consequat. Quisque metus enim, venenatis fermentum, mollis in, porta et, nibh. Duis vulputate elit in elit. Mauris dictum libero id justo.

Subscribe to this Blog via Email :

Contact Form


Email *

Message *