Patriots muscle past La Salle, 70-62, in A-10 opener

Posted In News - By Brian Wright On Sunday, January 4th, 2015 With 0 Comments


The dawning of a new year usually brings aspirations for a clean slate.

But instead of George Mason yearning to turn the page, the Patriots’ hope was that the start of 2015 would only mark the continuation of a positive chapter that has been developing for this current Patriot season – after the horror story that was the initial eight regular season games.

With the exception of their New Year’s Eve road loss at ranked foe Oklahoma, they hadn’t been beaten since Dec. 6.

And, indeed, the feeling of optimism remained with Mason’s victory over the visiting La Salle Explorers, 70-62, on Saturday night in the Atlantic 10 Conference opener for both schools.

In holding down the league’s top scorer, Jordan Price, the Patriots were able to maintain contact with their opponent in the first half and eventually reel La Salle in during the second 20-minute period – ultimately taking their first lead with 8:40 remaining as Patrick Holloway hit a three-pointer.

The Mason guard was one of four players to share the club lead in points (13). Shevon Thompson, Jalen Jenkins, and Isaiah Jackson all matched Holloway’s total – with Thompson connecting on two key free throws at the 50-second mark in the second half to stretch the Patriots’ advantage to 66-62.

Just prior, Isaiah Jackson had missed a pair of foul shots to give La Salle life. But a missed layup by Amar Stukes at the other end staved off a potential tie.

A major difference in the outcome of this contest was certainly the absence of a strong day by Price – who managed just two points after going 1-for-11 from the field and 0-for-6 from three-point range. Another was the Patriots’ ability to grab 32 rebounds. That was ten more than what the Explorers were able to tally, a statistic which factored in their head coaches’ assessment of the game.

“George Mason completely outplayed us,” said Dr. John Giannini, whose team suffered its first loss on the road this season. “They out-toughed us. They out-rebounded us.”

By winning four out of their last five, the Patriots now sit one game away from the .500 mark (6-7) – certainly quite an achievement after starting out this 2014-15 campaign 2-6.

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About - Brian is a new contributor to MasonHoops.com for the 2014-2015 season. With over a decade's worth of sports journalism experience, he has been featured on Bleacher Report, SB Nation, as well as The Washington Examiner. Currently, Brian is the MLB Lead Writer for The Sports Daily (thesportsdaily.net/author/brianwright), a staff writer with the Stafford County Sun (VA), and the host of a baseball history podcast, 'Baseball as It Was' (baseballasitwas.com). While attending Virginia Tech, Brian covered Frank Beamer's Hokie football teams - among other sports - for the school's daily campus newspaper. Follow Brian on Twitter (@BrianWright86).

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