It took seven tries but on obscure warm February afternoon, George Mason finally was able to knock off Fordham 73-67.
Late in the second half at EagleBank Arena, the Rams clawed their way back after being down as much as 15. There was a seven minute scoring drought for the Patriots that actually allowed the Rams to pull within one.
Back-to-back threes by Joseph Chartouny (21 pts) cut Mason’s lead down to 61-60 and all the momentum on the road team’s side.
Trading free throws on both sides, Mason was up 63-62. With flashbacks to last homecoming, Jalen Jenkins provided the last Patriot field goal to help get the win. A quick feed inside gave Jenkins the chance to go up against a double team. Initially he missed but off the rebound he put Mason back up by three.
Down the stretch Mason went a perfect 8-8 at the line to clinch the game.
Marquise Moore continued his dominance with his 15th double-double of the season scoring 15 points, on 6-8 shooting, and 11 rebounds. In addition he dished out six assists, leading the Patriots.
Jenkins also recorded a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds, his third of the season. He is now 10 points away from his 1,000 career point.
It was not a clean game for George Mason (17-8, 7-5) but their defense bailed them out after their rough home history. Forcing the Rams to shoot 32 percent from behind the arc and only committing 11 team fouls in the contest, Mason did not allow points to come easy.
This was evident during their seven minute scoreless stretch, which included a two minute scoreless drought by the Rams.
Fordham (10-15, 4-8) forced 18 turnovers, which resulted in 21 points. Chartouny led the team in points and rebounds (eight) but played the entire contest for the Rams. A rough night of shooting though for Chris Sengfelder, 5-14 with eight missed three pointers, left too many points on the court for the Rams.
LAST GAME: PATRIOTS TAME WILDCATS ON ROAD
Otis Livingston II crossed up defenders all contest and came home with 19 points. It was actually an off-shooting night for Livingston but going perfect at the line (8-8) amplifies any stat line.
Dominating the boards, Mason out-rebounded Fordham 44-24. Jenkins had eight offensive boards with the team bringing down 14. This resulted in nine second chance points, while the Rams had none.
Settling in the contest, Mason ended up shooting 46 percent from 3pt range. Freshman, Justin Kier was the only Patriots to knock two down but Moore, Livingston, Jaire Grayer, and Kamari Newman got one to go down as well.
Beating Fordham is a long time coming for the Green and Gold who saw two of the three previous seasons end as a loss to the Rams in the Atlantic 10 tournament. It also is the program’s first ever win against the Bronx team.
With a 6,676 attendance mark it was the second largest crowd in EagleBank this season behind the Dec. 30 loss to VCU. “We haven’t had an atmosphere like that in years,” Jenkins said. “It really was an X-factor.”
The win marks the third straight homecoming win for George Mason and the second straight under Dave Paulsen.
The Patriots are now tied for fifth place in the conference standings, a game behind Rhode Island (who Mason plays next Saturday) and three and a half games ahead of a dreaded play-in game.