George Mason Pulls Away for a Win Over Saint Joseph’s

Hawks Fall to the Patriots 77 – 71

FAIRFAX VA. 1/24/2022 –

The Saint Joseph’s Hawks were playing their third game in the space of a week. This game was the makeup game from the postponed game earlier in the month. And like their previous outing at VCU the Hawks had a chance to get a win, but it got away as George Mason wins 77 – 71. Saint Joe’s has lost 5 of their last 6 games, and trying to get the growth needed to turn the losses into wins.

“The want to win so bad, and there is another layer of execution that we need to add to those plays,” said Saint Joseph’s Coach Billy Lange. “We’re growing in that way. You don’t need to make something up, just go to the next layer.”

The game was a one or two possession contest throughout most of the second half. Mason had the edge in points in the paint and took advantage of Saint Joe’s turnovers. Patriots forward Josh Oduro was a force inside scoring 31 points, one shy of his career-high. And the hosts had an 18 – 7 advantage in point off turnovers. Mason committed 4 turnovers, SJU had 17. But the Haws had an equalizer hitting eight more three-pointers.

The game came down to the last four-plus minutes. The score was tied at 66. A play that somewhat turned momentum to Mason, Jordan Hall tried to shield the ball away on the sidelines. Patriots guard D’Shawn Schwartz ran up the line and got the ball. He took it in for a layup to give his team the lead. That was followed by an offensive foul called on Hawks forward Taylor Funk. SJU got the ball back, but missed a shot. Oduro drained a turn around jumper for a four-point Mason lead. The sequence took place in a stretch where the Hawks were held scoreless for over four minutes and turned the ball over five times.

Still, the Hawks did not away. Funk nailed a three-pointer cutting the gap to 70 – 69. The teams traded baskets. Davonte Gaines made a follow up layup as the shot clock expired to hold the lead at four for GMU. The Hawks had another chance and appeared to cause a turnover on the ensuing inbounds play. The call was reversed, George Mason had possession and closed it out.

“The result can’t dictate how the process went,” Lange said. “There were three possessions we did not execute and we have to. We need to go through these shared experiences.”

Oduro made 12 of 22 from the field and 6 of 7 from the stripe. He caused foul trouble for the Hawks big men, and was the factor behind a 56 – 24 Mason advantage in points in the paint. Schwartz broke double-digits getting 14 points. The Patriots are on a six-game winning streak in this series.

Hall filled the stat line for Saint Joseph’s scoring 15 points and added 9 rebounds and assists. Funk added 17 points. Erik Reynolds scored a team-high 18 points, one shy of his career-best.

The Hawks (8 – 10, 2 – 5) return to action on Wednesday hosting Duquesne. Another chance to learn and grow.

“It was a great game by our guys,” said Lange. “We’re learning how to do some things that we need to learn to do to win. We did a lot of good things over the last eight minutes, but they are a good team. I’m proud of our guys.”


Written By: Glenn Papazian


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