George Mason’s 68-53 victory over St. Bonaventure put them in unfamiliar territory… in a good way. For the first time since joining the Atlantic 10, the Patriots are 2-0. They’ve also won 4 out of their last 5. It’s a far cry from the beginning of the season when Mason looked like they were wilting under the heat of expectations.
Earlier in the week, the Patriots went to St. Joe’s and beat them 85-60. It was one of the most complete games the Patriots have played all season. They outplayed the Hawks in every way possible. Mason hit 15 three pointers, out-rebounded St. Joe’s, turned them over 13 times and controlled the pace of the game from beginning to end but the win over the Bonnies was far from being perfect.
That part of what made the win so satisfying. “We got knocked… struggled to score, turned the ball over a little out of sync and our guys showed a lot of grit and toughness,” said George Mason head coach Dave Paulsen. Unlike the St Joe’s game, the Patriots missed their first 11 three points attempts. Ian Boyd’s three pointer at the buzzer before halftime was the first one made. But Mason hung in there in a half where they didn’t play well in part because of the toughness Paulsen referred to.
Before the season started, Jared Reuter was looked at as a vital piece. At the beginning of the season, there was an adjustment period but what the Patriots were able to get out of him and Greg Calixte will need to continue. The two big men combined for 16 points and 14 rebounds. “I thought Greg Calixte really kept us in the game in the first half especially on the glass,” said Paulsen.
With the Atlantic 10 being as wide open as it is, ugly wins can be the prettiest of them all. Up next for the Patriots is Davidson on Wednesday.
Bob McKillop is one of the most respected coaches in the country and will have the Wildcats ready for the early match up. Sophomore, Kellan Grady, has returned from injury and turned in a 17 point performance in their win over Duquesne. Grady leads the team scoring at 19.2 ppg.
After the Davidson game, George Mason will travel to UMass and Rhode Island.