There has always been on team that has stymied George Mason since joining the Atlantic 10. A team that the Patriots created a rival series with, George Washington.
At the Smith Center in Foggy Bottom, that would not change as the Patriots dropped their eighth straight contest against the Colonials on Sunday 83-74. Lacking aggression on defense throughout the contest and eight first half turnovers, Mason never seemed to be in a commanding position against their Revolutionary Rivals.
Three players for the Colonials always found ways to get open: Yuta Watanabe, Jaren Sina, and Matt Hart. They would punish the Patriots from long range going 7-12 from behind the arc as a trio. Both Watanabe (18 points) and Hart (11 points) were a perfect 5-5.
Earlier in the season, it was the same case for Mason. Instead of the guards though, it was Tyler Cavanaugh who dominated in the last contest, which the Colonials won 87-68.
Today Cavanaugh had 22 points, seven rebounds and kept Mason’s best post player, Jalen Jenkins (13 points) in foul trouble.
Throughout the season Mason, who now has lost three straight, has been letting opponents shoot from long range. Statistically, it has been working as Mason is fourth in the league defensively from three point range at 33 percent. But after the Patriots last matchup with George Washington, where the Colonials shot 58 percent, it was expected for a change of pace defensively.
Mason was slow on switches, got lost on screens, and played five to seven feet off of the arc against their best shooters. In the final two full defensive possessions of the game, Mason forced the ball into the paint and came up with two empty possessions. It was simply too little, too late.
Marquise Moore would attempt to will the Patriots back after trailing for a majority of the contest. He would score seven of the nine last points for Mason and led the team in all three offensive categories with 20 points, seven rebounds, and six assists.
It was another game that saw Otis Livingston II struggle, who only scored two points in 1-4 shooting and had four turnovers. In the Patriots three game losing streak, he has been shooting 6-29 and has 10 turnovers.
Ian Boyd would have a career high 15 points coming off of the bench and Jaire Grayer had 14 points as the only other Patriots who reached double figures.
For George Washington (16-13, 8-8), it is a huge win who has now won three in a row and four of their last five. The team has gone from 10th place in the conference standings to a tie for sixth.
Sweeping the season series, the Colonials now own the tiebreaker over the Patriots if the teams were to tie in the standings.
George Mason (18-11, 8-8), while they have clinched a berth outside of the play-in games, they have been free falling. Less than two weeks ago they were in a tie for fourth place, looking for a double bye. Now the team holds at eighth place, behind in the three way tiebreaker to George Washington and La Salle (14-13, 8-8).
Next up for George Mason is senior night on Wednesday against Duquesne (10-19, 3-13). A win in that contest will give Mason no worse than a No. 8 in the Atlantic 10 tournament.