On their first true road game on the season, George Mason goes into Cedar Falls and upsets Northern Iowa 54-50.
The team won behind strong performances by jump shooters Jaire Grayer and Justin Kier. Grayer led the team with 14 points and seven rebounds, including a pivotal three point basket from the corner with the Patriots trailing late. Kier would add nine points, getting seven of those from the charity stripe. In the final minute he went 4-4 sealing the victory for Mason (5-3).
It was a game though where nothing would go right for Mason.
Early on the Patriots quickly lost control of the post. Starter Jalen Jenkins (two points, four rebounds) and his backup Troy Temara (four points, two rebounds) got two fouls each in the game’s initial five minutes. Before the half was done, Temara would add another foul and Daniel Relvao (five rebounds) would pick up three.
Turning to their strong guards, the Patriots looked to drive to the rim. As a huge component of Marquise Moore’s game, attention quickly drew from the Northern Iowa defense.
Calls however would not go Mason’s way.
The Panthers were able to pick up six charges on George Mason throughout the game. With Northern Iowa (3-3) limiting Moore to only nine points, Mason’s offense never was able to effectively go on a run. Despite the pressure, Moore dished out five assists and brought in 13 rebounds.
Otis Livingston II was able to break through with 12 points, a majority on pull-up jumpers, as many of his would-be assists ended with an offensive foul. He hit two of the team’s three 3pters as the Patriots continue to struggle from behind the arc.
Together though, they combined for nine of the teams total 18 turnovers. A killing stat considering the Panthers only had six on the game.
The whole game hinged on Northern Iowa’s poor shooting. On the night they shot 26 percent from the field, their highest scorer being a freshman off the bench, Spencer Haldeman, who had 16 points and four 3pters.
Until the final minutes, the Patriots were able to prevent the Missouri Valley Conference’s preseason player of the year selection Jeremy Morgan for having an impact. Morgan, who has led the team in points, 3pters, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks on the season, was kept without a basket until the final five minutes of the game.
Defensively Moore was matched up against Morgan with Kier helping when Moore was on the bench. Together they held Morgan to six points and 11 rebounds.
From beginning to end the Patriots dominated the glass 53-30. Mason brought in 13 offensive boards but only capitalized with three second chance points. Due to poor shooting by both squads, all but one player who checked-in recorded a rebound on the night.
Coming into this game, Northern Iowa was the fourth best team in the country according to the national RPI. The Panthers also had the best strength of schedule in all of college basketball.
The win extends Mason winning streak to four games, the program’s longest since the 2013-14 season when the Patriots started the year 4-0.