Hofstra (8-17) at George Mason (19-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 8th, 7:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Patriot Center (10,000) -- Fairfax, Virginia. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Hofstra 6-8, George Mason 12-1. Away Record: Hofstra 1-8, George Mason 6-4. Neutral Record: Hofstra 1-1, George Mason 1-1. Conference Record: Hofstra 2-11, George Mason 11-2. Series Record: George Mason leads, 12-8.
GAME NOTES: The George Mason Patriots will attempt to keep pace atop the Colonial Athletic Association standings tonight, as they welcome the Hofstra Pride to the Patriot Center in Fairfax.
Hofstra has not fared well since the calendar turned to 2012. After winning three straight to close out the month of December, the Pride have lost 10 of 12 and are just a game ahead of Towson for last place in the CAA. Their latest loss came in embarrassing fashion at the hands of Georgia State on Saturday, 59-43.
At the other end of the spectrum, George Mason has been red-hot of late, winning 12 of its last 14 games and the team is currently tied with VCU and Drexel for first place in the league with an 11-2 record. The Patriots took down Old Dominion, 54-50, in their latest outing this past Saturday.
In 20 all-time meetings, George Mason leads the series with Hofstra, 12-8. The Patriots have won two of the last three matchups, including 55-50 in the first game played between the two this season on January 25.
Though Hofstra's offense ranks in the middle of the pack in the CAA in terms of scoring (64.4 ppg), the unit has been terrible lately, scoring 51 points or fewer in four of its last five games. The struggles continued for the Pride in Saturday's loss to Georgia State, shooting an awful 29.3 percent from the floor and 3-of-22 from three-points range, while matching a season-low with 43 points. Nathaniel Lester was one of the few bright spots for the Pride, tallying 14 points and 10 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the year, and he now averages 14 ppg and a team-leading 6.7 rpg. Hofstra has the CAA's top scorer in Mike Moore, who averages 19.4 ppg while also ranking in the top- five in three-pointers per game (2.4), three-point FG percentage (.376) and steals (1.9 spg). Moore struggled by his standards in the loss to Georgia State however, shooting 5-of-14 from the floor and 2-of-8 from three-point range to finish with 13 points. Dwan McMillan isn't much of a scoring threat (5.9 ppg), but he hands out 4.4 apg, second-best in the conference.
George Mason is defined by its potent offense, which ranks first in the CAA in scoring (70.2 ppg), scoring margin (+9.3) and field goal percentage (.454). Though the Patriots struggled mightily on Saturday to the tune of 27.7 percent field goal efficiency, and one of their lowest point totals of the season, they were able prevail thanks to a stout defensive effort which forced ODU into 17 turnovers, and the Monarchs shot just 32.8 percent from the floor and 2-of-16 from three-point range. Though Ryan Pearson went a mere 3-of-11 from the field in the win, he hit 11-of-13 free throws to lead the team with 17 points and he also grabbed 10 rebounds in logging his 10th double-double of the campaign. Pearson has been effective all season long, ranking third in the conference in scoring (17.8 ppg), fifth in rebounding (8.8 rpg) and seventh in field goal percentage (.500). Though no one else averages in double digits, Mike Morrison (9.6 ppg), Sherrod Wright (9.0 ppg) and Vertrail Vaughns (9.0 ppg) combine to form a solid supporting cast for Pearson.
Going on the road to face one of the CAA's best squads is not exactly what Hofstra needs to snap out of its funk. That said, expect George Mason to take care of business at home with relative ease.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: George Mason 74, Hofstra 59
02/08 10:33:31 ET