GAME NOTES: Hoping to pick up their first win against the George Mason Patriots in conference play, the Towson Tigers will serves as hosts when the two teams meet in Colonial Athletic Association action on Wednesday night.
The Patriots come into this contest having won four of their last five, the most recent of which being a 57-46 decision at home against Hofstra. GMU now takes its act out on the road, and it will play four of its next five away from home.
The Tigers had a modest two-game win streak come to an end on Monday as they suffered a 71-69 home loss to Georgia State. Towson will be playing its third game in five days tonight. The Tigers have won six of their last eight, and are off to their best start since the 2006-07 season.
This has been a decidedly one-sided rivalry, with the Patriots leading the series by a 31-8 count, and they have won 19 straight against the Tigers. Towson has not defeated the Patriots since joining the CAA 12 years ago, and the last Tiger win came on Jan. 6, 1992 (78-71 at home).
Sherrod Wright had 21 points and five rebounds as George Mason used a quick second-half run to defeat Hofstra last Saturday night. The Patriots used a 10-2 scoring burst to turn a one-point lead into a 47-38 advantage as Allen's layup with 7:10 left gave George Mason the nine-point lead and allowed them to hold on for the victory.
Wright leads the GMU attack, scoring 18.1 ppg, which ranks him second in the CAA. He is also pulling down 5.0 rpg, tied with Erik Copes for the team lead. Wright also ranks in the top-10 in the conference in several other categories, including field goal percentage (.505), free throw percentage (.800), 3-point field goal percentage (.380) and minutes played (33.2). The Patriots play excellent defense, limiting opponents to just 61.9 ppg, which is tops in the league. They are also holding foes to 39.1 percent shooting from the field, second-best in the CAA, while nabbing 7.4 steals per outing, good for third in the league. They are the best in the conference in scoring margin (+3.2).
Jerrelle Benimon led four Tigers in double figures with 18 points to go along with 10 rebounds, but Towson fell to Georgia State at home on Monday night. Bennimon posted his national-leading 14th double-double of the season. Jerome Hairston scored a career-high 16 points to go along with five rebounds and a career-high tying five assists for the Tigers, who came into the game with six victories in their last seven outings. Mike Burwell added 14 points and Marcus Damas scored 11 points for Towson, which dropped its first game this season when four or more players score in double figures.
Towson has been powered by Benimon, who averages a double-double consisting of 17 points and 11.7 rebounds per game, along with team-highs of 50 assists and 40 blocks. He is an all-purpose weapon, ranking fifth in the conference in scoring, in a tie for first in rebounding, third in field goal percentage (.545) and blocked shots (2.1). Damas adds 10.0 ppg and 5.1 rpg to the mix for Towson. Like the Patriots, Towson's defense has been solid this year as well, limiting teams to just 65.2 ppg, which puts it third in the CAA, and holding teams to 38.7 percent shooting, which is first in the conference. They are also first in rebounding margin (+5.5) and second to GMU in scoring margin (+1.2).
It has been a long time coming, but Towson may have the players to finally take down GMU. Although both teams play excellent defense, expect the Tigers to find a way to pull out the victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Towson 64, George Mason 60
01/23 10:35:43 ET
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