On Saturday, the George Mason will put their undefeated road record to the test against St. Bonaventure.
George Mason (11-4, 1-1) is 3-0 on the road this season, with wins at Northern Iowa, Penn State, and Penn. In all three matchups, the Patriots held their opponents to under 40 percent shooting have outscored their opponents 218-176.
For St. Bonaventure (9-4, 1-1) though, they are the highest scoring team in the Atlantic 10, averaging 84 points a contest. There are also five players in their regular rotation that are shooting better than 47 percent from the field and as a team they hold at 46 percent.
The contest will be a matchup between two of the best backcourt duos in the Atlantic 10, Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley of the Bonnies and Marquise Moore and Otis Livingston II of George Mason.
Together Adams and Mobley both bring in 20 points a game, half of their team’s scoring. In addition Adams is third best scorer in the NCAA at 23.4 points per game, which leads the Atlantic 10. The preseason John Wooden Award candidate also leads the league in assists and is second in three point field goals.
As a junior, he is the clear front-runner for Atlantic 10 Player of the Year.
Moore (17.9 points) and Livingston (15.1 points) have become Mason’s go-to scorers and offensive facilitators. Combined they bring in seven assists every contest, but most importantly they draw attention away from the other Patriots. Livingston leads the conference in free-throw percentage and Moore leads the conference in free-throw attempts.
While the Bonnies have one of the most successful offenses in the league, they have one of the worst defenses. Opponents are shooting 44 percent against St. Bonaventure from the field and 40 percent from long range.
For Mason, getting Jaire Grayer (3-6 3pters vs. UMass) going could not have come at a better time.
Keeping a fast-paced half-court offense will keep the Bonnies defense at bay. Typically the team gets confused on switches and packs too many bodies into the paint, leaving shooters open on the corners and wings.
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For the third Atlantic 10 contest in a row, Mason will have a height disadvantage. Against both VCU and Massachusetts, Mason lost the rebounding advantage by over 10 boards.
Moore may have met his match as the Bonnies have players all over the court that crash the boards. With Moore’s rebounding numbers dropping slightly to 10.6, this matchup could continue the trend.
Still, Mason leads the conference in rebounding margin at +8.0.
Fouling will be a huge theme in this contest. Against VCU, Mason found out how tough it is to play with Jalen Jenkins (10.6 ppg) on the bench. While Mason tends to foul against aggressive shooting teams, the Bonnies will make them pay as the second best free throw shooting team in the league.
With a similar aggressive offense, Moore and the Patriots could pick up the same calls with multiple Bonnies in the paint.
This matchup has turned into a contest that has big implications down the line. It is the lone meeting between the two programs on the season, meaning this will be a pivotal tie-breaker as both teams are on track to finish in the middle of the pack in the Atlantic 10.
In terms of post-season implications, this will be a huge resume booster for either squad with both teams floating around 100 in the national RPI.
Prediction: Mason 80 St. Bonaventure 76
Prediction Record: 11-4 (Incorrect picks: VCU, UNI, Mount St. Mary’s, Towson)