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Monmouth (0-2) vs. George Mason (1-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, November 15th, 8:30 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Cassell Coliseum (9,847) -- Blacksburg, Virginia. Television: ESPN3. Home Record: Monmouth 0-0, George Mason 1-0. Away Record: Monmouth 0-1, George Mason 0-0. Neutral Record: Monmouth 0-1, George Mason 0-1. Conference Record: Monmouth 0-0, George Mason 0-0. Series Record: George Mason leads, 3-2.
GAME NOTES: Now onto their third game of the young season, the Monmouth Hawks again shoot for their first victory as they challenge the George Mason Patriots in the East Regional of the NIT Season Tip-Off at Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg.
Last night, the Hawks were trounced by host Virginia Tech in the first round of regional action, dropping a lopsided 91-46 decision. The defeat was the second in as many games for a Monmouth program which opened up 2011-12 with a 106-70 loss versus Villanova on Friday.
As for the Patriots, last night's game versus FIU didn't quite go to plan as the team faltered in overtime, 79-76. Last season, George Mason opened with back-to-back wins and victories in nine of their first 11 outings, so they might have some trouble duplicating those efforts under first-year head coach Paul Hewitt.
In terms of an all-time series between these two squads, the Patriots have taken three of the previous five encounters, although it was Monmouth that posted a 65-38 win in the most recent meeting nearly two decades ago.
The Hawks took themselves out of contention rather early on Monday as they made a total of seven field goals in the first half, finishing the night hitting a disappointing 26.8 percent from the floor, 1-of-17 behind the three- point line and just 15-of-29 at the free-throw line. The only player to score in double figures for the Hawks was Ed Waite who came off the bench and dropped in 12 points, adding a team-high 11 rebounds as well in the awkward effort. While it has been just two games, Monmouth is already way behind in the stats compared to the competition, losing the first two outings by an average of more than 40 points. Waite is the lone double-digit scorer with 10.5 ppg, his 8.0 rpg also pacing a group that is shooting a woeful 31.7 percent from the floor while allowing opponents to knock down 57.9 percent. The team is being beaten on the glass by 12.5 rpg and has underachieved at the free-throw line (.596) as well as behind the three-point line (.188).
The Patriots placed four starters in double figures on Monday, led by Ryan Pearson who tallied 18 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, but even that was not enough as the team suffered the overtime loss to FIU. Sherrod Wright and Vertrail Vaughns both contributed 16 points and Bryon Allen 14 to go along with his five assists, but he was also guilty of five of the team's 21 costly turnovers. Fellow starter Mike Morrison also grabbed 10 rebounds, but was limited to a mere three points in 36 minutes of action. Pearson is off to a strong start for George Mason, averaging a double-double through two games with team highs of 23.0 points and 11.0 rebounds per outing, all while shooting 51.4 percent from the floor. Wright (16.5 ppg) has been even more exacting from the field thus far with his 61.9 percent accuracy, helping to lift the squad to an even 50 percent from the floor overall.
Monmouth has had the schedule work against it for the first two games and even though George Mason might be an easier target, the Patriots aren't about to lie down tonight.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: George Mason 74, Monmouth 62
11/15 10:33:37 ET