Photo by Chris (@ByGeorgeMason)
It was the tale of two halves for the George Mason Patriots in their 90-65 win over Lebanon Valley College. The first half provided a scare for Mason, trailing by 10 to a Division III team. A resounding comeback and eventual throttling of the Dutchmen in the second half pulled the Patriots to .500 on Tuesday night at EagleBank Arena.
Off of the bench, sophomore Kameron Murrell provided a much needed spark for Mason (1-1) in the second half. Known for his defensive skills from last season, Murrell saw action as the Patriots looked to quickly keep the game in control after the opening minutes of the second.
On a quick transition Murrell (15 points) drove full court to the basket and finished after a hard foul. Hitting the free-throw after turned a one point deficit into a two point lead for the Patriots. A lead that the Patriots would not relinquish for the remainder of the game and was the beginning of a 38-12 run to end the game.
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In the opening period, Lebanon Valley (0-1) tried to shoot the lights out on the road.
The team shot 48 percent in the first half and 54 percent from long range. In addition, they drew 13 fouls from the Patriots which resulted in them going 15-18 from the charity stripe. Compared to the Patriots, Mason was 16 percent from behind the arc in the first half and 1-7 at the line.
No surprise, the leader for the Dutchmen was All-American Andy Orr. He brought in 18 points, eight rebounds, and three assists. Only Sam Light topped him in any category, 19 points, but it was mostly due to him going a perfect 10-10 at the line.
Ball movement improved tremendously for Mason and continued into the second half. The team had 13 assists, with Otis Livingston (16 points) topping the team with six.
Long distance shots though have proven to be a problem. For the team’s second straight game, the Patriots have shot below 20% from behind the three point line. In fact, Murrell was the only Patriot who sunk a long ball against Lebanon Valley, making three (rest of the team 0-12). Going forward, the team will have to find this aspect of their game if they are going to be competitive against Atlantic 10 opponents.
The lack of shooting was made up for in the paint as the team outscored the Dutchman 64-18. Mason also outrebounded Lebanon Valley 48-25 and had 17 offensive rebounds compared to the Dutchmen’s five.
Not playing tonight was DeAndre Abram and Danny Dixon. Both of which failed to see action because of their performance in practice this past week. It left the door open for freshmen Justin Kier (five points) to get his first collegiate start and Troy Temara to see his first on-the-court action as a Patriot. In only eight minutes, Temara went 2-3 shooting for four points.
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Senior Jalen Jenkins added a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds, eight being offensive. Fellow senior, Marquise Moore also had a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds. It was the ninth and fourth career double-doubles respectively for each player.
This game was the opening round game of The Gulf Coast Showcase as all teams in the tournament faced off against a Division II or Division III school on the same night. The tournament will kick off for Mason on Monday as they face the Houston Cougars but first they will take on Mount St. Mary’s at home on Friday night.