The Washington DC area was home to two big Atlantic match-ups this weekend. George Mason faced the Fordham Rams, while George Washington squared off against Duquesne.
George Mason 71 Fordham 68
Coming into the game, it would’ve been easy to look at the standings and see George Mason tied for second and Fordham tied for last and think this was going to be an easy game. You would be wrong. With the exception of the VCU game, Fordham had been competitive in all of their Atlantic 10 conference games and Saturday night was no different.
The Rams came out hot in the first half behind the shooting of guard, Nick Honor. Most of the credit should go to Honor as he hit contested shot after contested shot. He finished the half with 11 points. “I would say when I go back an watch the film they hit some tough shot,” said George Mason head coach Dave Paulsen.
George Mason also shot very well but was mainly undone by turnovers. Nine turnovers took away from a good shooting half (52%) by the Patriots.
In the second half, Fordham led by nine with 5:25 left. That’s when George Mason woke up. A 10-0 run in a span of 2:08 gave Mason a one point lead. No team would lead by more than one point over the last 3:32. It was the last second when that changed.
With the game tied, George Mason had the ball and Fordham decided to sit back in zone. Otis Livingston II dribbled the ball down to six seconds and then hit a three pointer with .4 seconds left. “Everything slowed down really in those last couple of seconds, said Livingston II. There’s more time than we think it is”.
Duquesne 91 George Washington 85 OT
George Washington got punched in the mouth early on but responded in a fashion that any coach would be proud of. After being down by 18 early on, the Colonials would eventually grab the lead late but couldn’t hold on. They would fall to the Dukes in OT.
After going down 20-2, the Colonials went on a 20-10 run to cut the lead to eight with 7:37 left in the half. The first half push was spurred on by Javier Langarica. Langarica had a career high 19 points by halftime. “I feel like I’ve been getting more confident,” said Langarica. By halftime, the Colonials were fully engaged cutting the lead to six by the intermission. But, the slow starts continue to be an issue for George Washington. “We need to have more of a sense of urgency and not wait until we get punched in the face in order to respond,” said guard Justin Mazzulla. George Washington head coach Maurice Joseph summed it up simply as “We weren’t tough enough to start the game.”
The second half would be a completely different story. The Colonials used a 7-0 run to get within one. After Duquesne pushed the lead back to 10, George Washington used an 23-8 run to take a five point lead with 1:07 left. But the Colonials couldn’t hold on. Michael Hughes would score four points, including a game tying layup with 5 seconds left, in the last 33 seconds to force the game into overtime.
In the overtime, Duquesne scored the first eight points and George Washington never recovered. The Colonials never got closer than three points in the extra period.
“I told the guys I was proud of their effort,” said Joseph.