For a while it felt that Prairie View A&M was playing with an NBA shot clock in EagleBank Arena.
At times, the Panthers could not even manage to get a shot up against George Mason’s defense. Mason held Prairie View to only 30 percent shooting in the game and an astounding 24 percent in the first half. The imposing defense powered the Patriots to an easy 75-59 win on Thursday afternoon.
It was the seventh game on the year that Mason held their opponents to under 40 percent shooting.
Throughout the contest, the Patriots defense smothered the Panthers. On in-bounds plays, in the back court, in the front court, the Panthers struggled to find openings to run their offense.
For a majority of the night, Prairie View (2-11) was not able to start their offensive movement until 15 seconds or less on the shot clock. Resulting in errant three point attempts and eight blocked shots by the Patriots, the Panthers could not find a rhythm.
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As a team, Mason (10-3) out-rebounded Prairie View 59-29, the team’s highest rebounding total and advantage on the year (+30). Coming into the game, Mason had the 16th best rebounding advantage in the country at +8.9.
Senior Marquise Moore brought in his fair share of the boards with 17, his career-high. Three other Patriots would finish with six or more.
The backcourt of Mason was unstoppable in the contest. Combined they totaled 43 points, nine assists and held the Panthers guards to 4-18 shooting and 15 points.
Moore would bring in 20 points, trailing only Otis Livingston II who had 23, and the senior also had a team-high four blocks. Livingston had six assists including this beauty below:
— Atlantic 10 MBB (@A10MBB) December 22, 2016
The score was not indicative how dominating the game was for the Patriots. A mini burst in the final minutes pulled the Panthers to within 13 despite Mason have a 24 point lead with seven minutes to go in the game.
While the win was great for Mason after a 10-day rest, many familiar problems presented themselves that the Patriots have not seen in their nine game winning streak. There were 20 turnovers for Mason, the most the team has committed all season. Of those 20, 14 were by the starters.
The Patriots also struggled at the line with only a 65 percent conversion rate, but not Livingston who extended his consecutive streak of 31 made free baskets.
Zachary Hamilton scored 21 points for the Panthers, including five three point baskets. His quick hands also gave the forward three steals.
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The win closes out the Patriots non-conference schedule on the season. It is the program’s best record this late into the season as a member of the Atlantic 10 conference. Currently the Patriots are sitting atop the league with the best record and a nine game winning streak in their back pocket.
George Mason gets another break before kicking off conference play on Dec. 30 against in-state and former CAA rival VCU. A sure fire must-see for both fan bases and Mason looks to continue their success, this time against an A10 opponent.