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George Mason (18-14) at College of Charleston (24-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, March 19, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: TD Arena (5,100) -- Charleston, South Carolina. Television: AXStv. CBI Record: George Mason 0-0, College of Charleston 2-2. Series Record: College of Charleston leads, 3-1.
GAMES NOTES: Soon to be conference foes George Mason and College of Charleston will square off in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational Tournament on Tuesday at TD Arena.
The winner of this bout will take on either Texas or Houston in the next round.
George Mason has been off since last Sunday when it fell, 69-67, in the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament semifinals to top-seed Northeastern. The setback was the third in the last four games for the Patriots who come into the postseason with an overall record of 18-14.
The Cougars have also had more than a week to stew over their last defeat which came in the title game of the Southern Conference Tournament against Davidson. Charleston still enjoyed its final season as a member of the SoCon before moving to the CAA next year as it holds a 24-10 overall mark for the campaign.
In four previous meetings, Charleston has come out on top three times. However George Mason won the last meeting a year ago with an 84-76 win at TD Arena.
A layup with three seconds left by Northeastern's Jonathan Lee sank George Mason in the CAA Tournament semifinals. The Patriots led by as many as 24 points in the first half but they allowed the Huskies to shoot 60.9 percent from the field and knock down 7-of-11 shots from beyond the arc in the second period to claim the victory.
There's no question who runs the show for the Patriots as Sherrod Wright (16.5 ppg) is not only the lone double-figure scorer on the roster but the only one putting in more than eight points per game. Wright had scored 43 points combined in the previous two games before a 10-point effort against Northeastern when he failed to get to the free-throw line for just the second time this season. Jonathan Arledge (8.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg) is the closest thing the Patriots have to a second option, while Bryon Allen (7.9 ppg, 3.5 apg) is a decent complement to Wright in the backcourt.
Charleston was thoroughly outplayed by SoCon champion Davidson in the tournament final. The Cougars managed to shoot at just a 29.8 percent clip for the game, while making good on just 1-of-10 shots from beyond the arc. Meanwhile they allowed the Wildcats to finish on 54.9 percent from the field.
There aren't a ton of prolific scorers for the Cougars to turn to though there is more balance. Five different players are scoring more than eight points per game for the Cougars led by Andrew Lawrence (13.5 ppg, 3.6 apg). Lawrence finished with 19 points against Davidson but struggled to get his shot to fall consistently as he hit just 5-of-15 shots from the field. Anthony Stitt (10.7 ppg, 3.3 apg) is another double-figure scorer as Lawrence's running mate in the backcourt. Adjehi Baru (9.6 ppg, 8.4 rpg) is as sturdy as they come in the frontcourt, while Anthony Thomas (8.6 ppg) and Trent Wiedeman (8.4 ppg, 5.5 rpg) also put forth solid efforts.
Wright is certainly a strong player and was one of the best in the CAA. However the Patriots are just too reliant on his efforts which will prove detrimental against the more balanced Cougars.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: College of Charleston 69, George Mason 63
03/19 10:40:03 ET