George Mason’s four game winning streak was snapped yesterday afternoon after a home loss to Rhode Island 77-74. Mason was down by as many as 18 points in this game and battled back in the second half only to lose in the games’ closing seconds. They dug themselves into a huge hole in the first half as URI went 7-for-11 on three-pointers during that period and had plenty of other open looks (see highlights below). The Rams, who were embarrassed in their last game against Fordham scoring only 43 points, looked to determined right from the tip against Mason. It looked like the Patriots had a tough time matching their energy until about mid-way through the second half. Dave Paulsen attested the team’s poor first half to a “rotten practice” prior to the game. Certainly didn’t help that Otis Livingston II and Jaire Grayer struggled mightily in the first half as Mason relied on seniors Marquise Moore and Jalen Jenkins to get things going early. When their top four doesn’t all start off great it can be an uphill battle for this team to get going.
Mason struggled on three-point shooting as URI gave very few open looks. Grayer came back in the second hitting 3-of-4 three-pointers but no one else hit a three during the game. They technically won the rebounding battle but gave up a ton of offensive boards to URI early on. They broke their streak of winning games while making at least 15 free-throw attempts after going 31-for-36 from the stripe. Jalen Jenkins by himself went 14-for-17 from there reaching a game-high 22 points for Mason. They became too reliant on Moore and Jenkins and needed the supporting cast to do more. Otis went 2-for-13 from the field and tried to force too many shots late in the game. While Jenkins led the team scoring yesterday he had five costly turnovers that hurt Mason’s ability to start runs.
Highlights from a great #A10MBB game with a great finish. @RhodyMBB edges @MasonMBB 77-74. pic.twitter.com/mIATIFhXeN
— Atlantic 10 MBB (@A10MBB) February 18, 2017
So they missed a chance to claim third place in the standings and now have a tough task playing at Dayton on Tuesday night. Despite this loss, it was nice to see that they didn’t just give up and did mount a comeback to erase that big deficit. No one can doubt this team’s effort each night but this could be another example of Mason needing a lot to go right for them in order to win big games like this.
[Photo via @rsuanes]