Mason Starts Fast and Kept the Pressure on the Red and Blue
FAIRFAX, VA. 11/12/2012 –
The University of Pennsylvania was hoping to bounce back after a loss at Florida State. This game was closer to home for the Quakers, but the host George Mason Patriots got off to a quick start to hand Penn their second loss of the season 87 – 66 at the Eagle Bank Arena. The Quakers are still finding their way as they played only once in 613 days, that two days ago. They needed to have a good start. Penn did not and Mason did.
“If you get off to a good start, kids feel better about themselves,” said Penn Coach Steve Donahue. “The event, college basketball, with guys who haven’t played in this environment against a good team. It’s been difficult in each possession. Simple things that happen in a game, you can’t simulate in practice. We got off to a bad start, and I credit them (George Mason) for that.”
The Patriots scored 14 of the first 16 points in the first five minutes and established the tempo. GMU shot 55.6% in the first half compared to 33.3% for the Red and Blue. It would be a too steep hill to climb as the Mason defense disrupted the Penn offense.
“Teams are trying to take us out of our offense,” said Penn guard Jelani Williams who played in his first collegiate game in front of family and friends from his home town of Washington. “We have to figure out ways to be more creative to get into our offense.”
Williams scored 8 points and took down a team-best 6 rebounds.
The Quakers were better in the second half as they started to get their feet under them. The Quakers made 13 of 29 in the latter twenty minutes, and hit seven of fourteen from distance. The gap would shrink to 14 on the second half.
But they did not slow down George Mason who converted 56.4% (31 of 55) and 46.2% (12 of 26) from beyond the arc.
Hopes of a comeback were dashed midway through the second half. With over fourteen minutes left the Patriots went on a run of three-pointers and threw in a traditional three-point play. Guard Jamal Hartwell II converted three three’s and Xavier Johnson sank another one. DeVon Cooper got his three the old fashion way in a 15 – 2 run that put the game in the win column solidly on the hosts.
“I was disappointed in the second half defense,” Donahue said. “We kind of hung our heads, got beat off the dribble too easy, and that’s something we have to work on as well.”
For Penn the guard combo of Jordan Dingle and Jonah Charles led the way. Dingle posted a game-high tying 20 points on 7 of 22 shooting, but he could only find the range once in eight times from three-point land. Charles converted 6 of 12 all three-point shots for his 18 points.
“Both of them played better in the second half,” said Donahue about the guard tandem. “The passing, the off the ball screen stuff was good. We got it into our bigs. There was much better offensive flow in the second half.”
Five GMU players broke double figures. Forward Josh Oduro had a team-high 20 points. Guard D’Shawn Schwartz got 18 points, while Cooper, Johnson, and Hartwell II each contributed 12 points.
The Quakers begin the year 0 – 2 and play again on Sunday even closer to home at Bucknell.
Written By: Glenn Papazian