George Mason loses Revolutionary Rivalry Game 73-67 to George Washington
FAIRFAX, Va. — It was Star Wars night at Eagle Bank Arena, but the force was not with the George Mason Patriots, in a 73-67 loss to the George Washington Colonials. Coming off an emotional road win against rival VCU on Wednesday night, Mason was looking to continue its momentum in a crucial Atlantic 10 matchup. A Mason win would have taken another step to avoiding a play-in game for the Atlantic 10 tournament in Brooklyn.
Mason started off the game hot with a 16-8 run, behind a quick nine points from freshman Josh Oduro, that forced a GW timeout. GW responded with a 12-2 run to retake the lead 20-18. However, a quick spurt from the three-point line by AJ Wilson gave Mason the lead back 26-20. Just like on Wednesday, Mason dominated the glass in the first half, grabbing 21 total rebounds, including nine offensive, to go with 13 second-chance points.
Behind that effort, Mason rolled into halftime up 30-28, but the turning point in the game would be a Wilson ankle injury towards the end of the first half. “There’s no excuse for our energy level going down when [AJ] got injured,” Patriots sophomore guard Jordan Miller said.
Just like its energy, Mason’s defense disappeared in the second half, allowing GW to shoot 60% from the field. A Maceo Jack three-pointer gave GW a 35-32 at the 16:00 mark of the second half. Mason found itself trailing the rest of the game, only getting as close as two on an Oduro layup, at the 8:20 mark of the second half. Mason, throughout the second half, failed to get that one stop they needed to get back into the game. “We just came out with a lack of effort in the second half on defense,” Patriots freshman point guard Xavier Johnson said.
A part of the reason for Mason’s defensive breakdown was redshirt senior, Armel Potter. Potter, who finished with a game-high 20 points, was in his first game back coming off a hip injury. Potter torched George Mason for 26 points back in the first matchup in January. It did not take long for Potter to return to form coming off the injury. “I just went out there played hard and provided energy for my brothers out on the court,” Potter said.
After such an emotional win against VCU Wednesday night, you can say Mason had a bit of a hangover coming into Saturday’s game. “We had a great performance and a great victory on the road Wednesday [at VCU], and did not handle that the way a good team needs to handle it.” Mason head coach Dave Paulsen said. As a result, Coach Paulsen was nothing but disappointed with his team’s effort on Saturday afternoon. “This is the most disappointed I’ve been after a game all season,” Paulsen said.
Mason was led in scoring by Johnson with a career-high 17 points. Wilson added 15 points of his own, with Oduro chipping in with a career-high 13 points. Mason turns its focus next to rival Richmond on the road this Wednesday. Richmond won the first matchup at Eagle Bank Arena, 97-87 on January 18th. Mason’s next home game, their homecoming game, comes next Saturday against the Atlantic 10 cellar dweller, Saint Joseph’s.