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DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 1, 2:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Chaifetz Arena (10,600) -- St. Louis, Missouri. Television: NBCSN. Home Record: GMU 5-4, SLU 11-1. Away Record: GMU 1-6, SLU 7-0. Neutral Record: GMU 1-3, SLU 1-1. Conference Record: GMU 0-6, SLU 6-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Saint Louis Billikens can match the school record for consecutive wins on Saturday, as they entertain the Patriots of George Mason for an Atlantic 10 Conference clash.
George Mason began the season at 4-0, but it's been all downhill for the team since, as it's won only three of its last 16 bouts. The Patriots are currently mired in a seven-game losing streak, the last six of which coming against A-10 rivals. GMU dropped a 75-69 decision to visiting George Washington last Saturday, and the squad is hoping to pull off the upset here and record only its second road win in eight tries.
Saint Louis brings a stellar 19-2 record into this clash, which includes a perfect 6-0 mark in A-10 action. The Billikens have won 13 straight since losing to still undefeated Wichita State, 70-65, back on Dec. 1. SLU, which is ranked 19th in this week's AP poll, is 11-1 at home this season, and a win in this contest will also give the team its first 20-2 start.
This bout marks the first-ever meeting between these brand new conference foes. The teams will meet again on GMU's home floor on Feb. 19 to complete the regular-season series.
George Mason's bench did its share of the heavy lifting in the recent loss to George Washington, as Johnny Williams and Patrick Holloway combined for 29 points, accounting for only 10 points fewer than all five starters combined. Jalen Jenkins logged a double-double consisting of 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Patriots, who shot 46.6 percent from the field, but allowed the Colonials to convert 54.7 percent of their total shots.
Bryon Allen (14.2 ppg) and Sherrod Wright (14.0 ppg) are the only two players averaging double digits in the scoring column for a George Mason club that is putting up 68.1 ppg while permitting 70.3 ppg. The Patriots are keeping their heads above water with regard to rebounding margin (+1.4), but have been too careless with the basketball in turning it over 14.5 times per contest.
Jordair Jett (21 points. 10 rebounds) and Dwayne Evans (15 points, 10 rebounds) both logged double-doubles in the Billikens' 77-57 win over visiting Richmond on Wednesday. Austin McBroom came off the bench to tally 12 points, and Rob Low chipped in 10 for a Saint Louis squad that knocked down 51.9 percent of its field goal attempts, despite missing two-thirds of its 3-point tries (4-of-12). The Bills, who are among the national leaders in team defense, held the Spiders to 31.7 percent field goal efficiency, which included a 5-of-17 showing from beyond the arc (.294), while also recording favorable differentials in both rebounding (43-34) and points from the foul line (17-12).
Like their counterpart today, the Billikens boast only two double-digit scorers in Evans (15.0 ppg, 6.3 rpg) and Jett (12.6 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 4.8 apg), but three others net between 8.6 and 9.1 ppg, helping the team muster up 70.7 ppg. Where SLU really earns its keep is at the defensive end, as opponents are shooting just 38.2 percent from the field, including a 27.6 percent effort from 3-point distance, in scoring a paltry 58.0 ppg -- all of which are among the lowest yields in the country. Foes are turning the ball over nearly 15 times per outing, and the Billikens are +3.9 in rebounding margin.
Saint Louis should have little trouble dictating the tempo of this clash, and will use its stifling defensive presence to keep the Patriots from getting into any kind of a rhythm.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Saint Louis 74, George Mason 59
02/01 10:15:25 ET
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