When: Friday, 11/18/2016, 7:30pm
Where: EagleBank Arena (Fairfax, VA)
Dress Code: N/A
Bars: Red Hot & Blue, Hard Times, Fat Tuesdays 3-7pm Happy Hour Specials
Online Streaming: A-10 Network
Heading into The Gulf Coast Showcase, the George Mason Patriots look to gain momentum against Mount St. Mary’s this Friday night at EagleBank Arena.
This season the Patriots (1-1) have struggled based off of preseason expectations. In the two games played, Mason looked drained against a taller Towson team and needed 57 points in the second half to comeback against a Division III school.
Against The Mount (0-3), this game will be the first real indicator on how both teams will shape up to be in the 2016-17 season. The Mountaineers this season have played three Power 5 conference teams, losing by 18 points or more in each matchup. Mason is the first team that they will face on a mid-major level.
Although a win against Towson on opening night would have been a great start to the season for the Patriots, a loss to a taller, more experienced team was no surprise. This game is one the Patriots should do well in and will be considered the favorites over The Mount.
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Through three games, the Mountaineers have allowed their opponents to shoot nearly 50 percent from the field. A shock, as they have Mawdo Sallah, a 6’9” redshirt-sophomore, and Chris Wray, a 6’8” junior starting as forwards on the interior.
Teams have been successful against Mount St. Mary’s with quick ball movement and mid distance jumpers. Their guards matchup well on the perimeter but against switches and a variety of shots, the Mountaineers have struggled.
Continuing the importance of ball movement will be key for the Patriots for success in this game and it will be their last chance to work on it before The Gulf Coast Showcase. In the first two games of the year the team has averaged just over 11 assists, slightly better than their average last season. Otis Livingston leads the team with nine assists and Jalen Jenkins has six.
Against Lebanon Valley the team only had five turnovers; there were 17 against the Tigers from Towson.
The matchup between Livingston and point guard Junior Robinson will be one the Patriots need to exploit. Livingston (13.5 ppg) will have a six inch advantage over Robinson (9.3 ppg). Livingston’s quick movement and threat of scoring, especially if he can get his three point shooting going, will spread the court and the Mountaineer defense.
Livingston has not been the only Mason player to struggle shooting the long ball. As a team they are shooting 18 percent from behind the arc.
St. Mary’s also has trouble consistently shooting the ball, 32 percent on the season. From three point range however, they are at 31 percent with junior, Greg Alexander (10.0 ppg) being their largest threat. Robinson is also a long ball option.
The rebounding edge will slightly favor the Patriots, despite Lebanon Valley having a taller team.
The status of DeAndre Abram and Danny Dixon, who missed last game due to a coach’s decision, is still unclear. The Patriots will need the size Abram brings at the four spot on the court and Dixon as a backup on the bench. In addition to Sallah and Wray, they have another big man, freshman Ryan Gomes (6’10”) that they work into the rotation.
All-time the Mountaineers lead the series 9-7 over the Patriots. The last time these two teams played was in 2008, in which George Mason won 72-60. That season the team went on to compete in the NIT.
This will be Mason’s third home game to start the year and will head to Florida for their preseason tournament starting on Monday.
Prediction: Mason 72 Mount St. Mary’s 63