Wins over George Washington are not something that George Mason can take for granted. But with the Mason’s two best players unable to get going, the Colonials had their way on a frigid Wednesday night.
George Washington, led by Yuta Watanabe‘s offensive and defensive efforts, held on to win their ninth straight against Mason, 80-68. It is evident that the Revolutionary Rivalry is not much of a ‘rivalry,’ at least on the hard wood.
Watanabe had the tall task of guarding Mason’s top scorer Otis Livingston II. In five conference games, he led the league with 23.6 points a contest, including a 33-point performance earlier in the month. The 6-foot-9 guard held Livingston to a mere three points on 1-for-7 shooting. Livingston was able to dish out three assists but that came with five turnovers.
The Colonials (9-10, 2-4) shot 54.5 percent from the field and forced 18 turnovers. Watanabe’s 19 points led all scorers but three other Colonials did reach double-figures.
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On a night where George Mason (9-10, 3-3) had their bench score the most points of the season (17), one would assume the Patriots would get the win. But Livingston’s three points, combined with Jaire Grayer‘s 11 did nothing to spark the offense.
Grayer would actually finish with a double-double adding 10 boards. It is the fourth of his career and third of the season.
Freshman Goanar Mar led the way for Mason with 17 points, most of those coming in garbage time. He hit a team-high three 3pt baskets to go with seven rebounds.
Off the bench, Ian Boyd had some huge moments in the first half. There was a stretch where he scored seven straight points to get Mason back into the contest during a 21-7 run. He finished with 10 points in 24 min. Javon Greene also had a seven-point run of his own during the same span.
Ultimately it was turnovers that struck down the Patriots, despite them keeping it competitive. They gave the ball up 18 times and it gave the Colonials 29 points.
Three other scorers besides Watanabe hit double-figures for GW. Terry Nolan Jr. (six assists) had 18 points along with Bo Zeigler. Jair Bolden finished with 16.
After a 21-7 run by the Patriots, George Washington responded with a 15-1 run of their own. The back-and-forth would end with the Colonials leading 44-29 at the break. George Mason never had the lead in this contest and spent most of the night down by double figures.
Of note, A.J. Wilson did not see any action in this game for George Mason. The Patriots also experimented with a 1-3-1 zone and full court press during this contest.
Easily this is the worse loss in conference for George Mason after winning two straight at home. Against seeds 4-14 in the Atlantic 10, Mason is 3-1.