Expectations were not that high for George Mason heading into Kingston, Rhode Island to start Atlantic 10 play. After a disappointing non-conference season, the Patriots looked to rebound in ‘the second season’ and first up was defending conference champion, Rhode Island.
In a dominating fashion, the Rams toppled the Patriots 83-64.
It was not the worst game the Patriots have played all season, but Rhode Island played to the level that they have all season.
The backcourt duo of E.C. Matthews (18 points) and Jared Terrell (16 points) on a combined 12-22 shooting. They made five of the team’s ten made three-pointers in 28 minutes apiece. Terrell also brought in eight boards. Both are sure to lock-in conference honors by the end of the season but today it was an all-around effort by the Rhode Island.
As a team the Rams (9-3), who are battling for an NCAA Tournament bid, shot 46.4 percent (a number that dwindled down significantly in the second half). Of their 32 baskets, 24 were the result of an assist. Forward Andre Berry had 13 points in 17 minutes. Jeff Downtin had nine points and eight assists. Basically everyone performed for the Rams.
PREVIOUS GAME: KIER’S SECOND HALF SURGE GETS MASON BACK IN WIN COLUMN
The contest was never close. The preseason favorites jumped out to an 11-0 lead and barely looked back. It helped the Ram cause when Mason was only 4-for-15 from deep.
Ending the game with 14 points, Otis Livingston II actually had an off-night for Mason. Right after a 13-0 run for the Rams, he missed three straight free throws (gasp… I know).
Sometimes it is just not your team’s night.
It was the third time an opponent has held him to one assist on the season. The other two games were the blowouts against Georgia Southern and Penn State. He also missed all three of his three-point attempts against Rhode Island.
George Mason (6-8) closed the game out on a 18-9 run, making the score somewhat more respectable. Justin Kier had 15 points and eight rebounds leading the Patriots in both categories.
During garbage time, freshmen A.J. Wilson, Javon Greene, and Greg Calixte got some much needed minutes. It was the most time we have seen all three of them in a game. They combined for 16 points (7-14), 17 rebounds, and only one turnover.
In the Dave Paulsen era, George Mason is 0-3 in conference openers. Granted the other two times were against VCU, contenders for the A10 title in both of those seasons. All-time they are 1-5 in their first Atlantic 10 game of the season.
If there is any gratification for Mason Nation in this loss is that George Mason did not hurt the Atlantic 10 in this contest. Also it is the only contest between the two squads this season.
The Patriots are now 0-5 in Atlantic 10 conference games against Rhode Island.
George Mason looks to get back on track against at Massachusetts on Jan. 3. They are coming off of a blowout loss as well from the other A10 front-runner St. Bonaventure.