It is George Mason against Richmond for the second time this season.
Or better yet it is Marquise Moore against T.J. Cline round two.
In the first edition of the Patriots vs. the Spiders, George Mason and Moore came out on top. The Patriots won 82-77 behind a double-double from Moore (25 points, 13 rebounds) and gave the team their biggest win on the season.
With an impressive performance from Cline (21 points, 11 rebounds) both Atlantic Team First Team contenders battled it out while covering each other for a good portion of the game.
Moore recorded a block against Cline and also shot 56 percent from the field, compared to the 6-foot-9’s zero blocks for the game and 42 percent shooting.
Tonight, they face off again and the entire league will be watching. These two teams, George Mason (17-8, 7-5) and Richmond (15-9, 9-3) will be in the league’s marque match as both teams are battling for one of the top four slots in the conference.
It will not be a repeat of the game before.
Currently, Cline is on a tear scoring 20 plus points in six out of the team’s last seven games. No longer are the Spiders relying on the spark of De’Monte Buckingham (9.3 ppg) who took the place of Marshall Wood due to an injury. In the same seven game stretch, Buckingham has only shot 40 percent or better twice with two double figure nights.
LAST GAME: MASON FINALLY BEATS FORDHAM AT HOMECOMING
A determining factor in the game will be how Shawn’Dre Jones performs. Averaging 22 points in his last four contests his stroke is much improved than it was in round one.
As a team they have improved to 46 percent shooting on the season.
Shooting 56 percent in the first half last time out gave Mason a margin that was too much for Richmond to overcome. Tonight, three point shooters will have to get going again, especially off the bench. With Ian Boyd back from his suspension, the Patriots are fully loaded.
Keys for Mason in tonight’s game:
1. Control the rebounding advantage
2. Get everyone involved in the scoring
3. Hit free throws
This game is critical down the stretch for the Patriots as three of their last five games are against the conference’s best; Rhode Island, Dayton, and VCU. If George Mason wants to claim a double-bye (a top four seed), the Patriots have to get a win tonight.
Marquise Moore (1,135) is 57 points away from typing Steve Smith for 23rd all-time.
Jalen Jenkins (990) is 10 points away from 1,000 career points; four points behind Levester Berry (35th), 14 behind Keith Michael (34th), and 16 behind Brian Miller (33rd).
Marquise Moore (587) is one rebound away from tying Byron Tucker for 16th all-time.
Jalen Jenkins (654) is four rebounds away from tying Mike Morrison for 14th all-time.
Marquise Moore (338) is 18 assists away from tying Cam Long for 6th all-time.
Otis Livingston II (86) is five 3pters away from tying Curtis McCants for 19th all-time.
Root for Saint Joseph’s (10-14, 3-9) over VCU (20-5, 10-2) at 6:00 on CBSSN.
Root for Dayton (19-5, 10-2) over Saint Louis (9-16, 4-8) at 8:00 on CBSSN.
George Mason owns the tiebreaker over Saint Joseph’s but not Saint Louis. With the Patriots essentially up 4.5 games on the Hawks, one can assume that will be a surmountable deficit to overcome. The Billikins however are 2.5 games behind Mason due to them owning the tiebreaker. Both Dayton and VCU are 3.0 games ahead of Mason.
Prediction: Mason 79 Richmond 76
Prediction Record: 16-9