George Mason (12-7) at Northeastern (12-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, January 27, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Matthews Arena (6,000) -- Boston, Massachusetts.
Television: CSN-MA, PHI, NE, CSS. Home Record: GMU 6-2, NU 4-5. Away Record:
GMU 3-3, NU 6-1. Neutral Record: GMU 3-2, NU 2-1. Conference Record: GMU 5-2,
NU 7-0. Series Record: Series is tied, 10-10.
GAME NOTES: Two of the Colonial Athletic Association's best meet at Matthews
Arena in Boston on Sunday night, as the Northeastern Huskies play host to the
George Mason Patriots.
George Mason was in the midst of a mediocre season at the beginning of
January, sitting with a 7-6 record, but since that point it has ripped off
wins in five of its last six games to move all the way to second place in the
CAA at 5-2. The Patriots were last in action on Wednesday, taking on the
upstart Towson Tigers and came away with a 77-67 victory.
The only CAA squad off to a better start than George Mason is Northeastern,
which is 7-0 in league play for the first time in program history. It
experienced a bit of a scare in its last outing, as William & Mary took the
game to two overtime periods before finally succumbing in a 95-91 final. The
Huskies' seven-game win streak has helped it overcome a lackluster 5-7 start
to the campaign.
After 20 all-time meetings between these two programs, each has come away with
10 wins. Northeastern has pulled even with two straight victories, including
an 84-74 verdict in the first matchup this season back on Jan. 3.
The Patriots were able to take care of business against Towson the last time
out by shooting a stellar 49.1 percent from the floor and by winning the
turnover battle, 16-8. Continuing his outstanding scoring pace was Sherrod
Wright, who shot a mere 5-of-12 from the floor but 14-of-17 from the foul line
on his way to 24 points. Wright is the CAA's second-leading scorer, draining
50 percent of his field goal attempts for 18.4 ppg, while also leading the
team in rebounding (5.2 rpg) and steals (1.2 spg). Bryon Allen was also
impressive against Towson, missing just one of his seven field goal attempts
for 16 points, while dishing out six assists against no turnovers. George
Mason's offensive attack is modest at best (65.7 ppg), and other than Wright,
no player averages more than 7.2 ppg, but it has found success thanks in large
part to the league's top-ranked scoring defense (62.2 ppg).
Northeastern saw its 16-point, second-half deficit disappear in its recent
clash with William & Mary, but two overtimes later, it escaped with the four-
point win to stay perfect in conference play. It was able to seal the deal by
putting forth an outstanding effort from both the field overall (34-of-67) and
the foul line (21-of-23). The two extra sessions allowed Joel Smith to tie a
career-high with 29 points, doing so on 11-of-14 shooting. Jonathan Lee and
David Walker tallied 19 and 17 points respectively, while Zach Stahl (11
points) and Quincy Ford (10 points) rounded out a balanced attack. Along with
George Mason, the Huskies are one of just four CAA teams with a positive
scoring margin this season, netting a league-best 69.5 ppg while allowing 68.5
ppg to opponents. Smith ranks sixth in the league in scoring (16.7 ppg) thanks
mostly to his 47-of-116 showing from 3-point range (.405). Lee missed the
first nine games of the season, but has since returned to average 13.4 ppg and
4.4 apg, while Ford (13.2 ppg, 5.9 rpg) and Reggie Spencer (10.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg)
are important pieces to the puzzle as well.
Something has to give in a matchup between the league's top scoring offense
and its best defensive squad. Considering Northeastern holds the home court
advantage, and it already defeated George Mason on the road earlier this year,
expect the Huskies to have the Patriots' number once again.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Northeastern 67, George Mason 63
01/27 10:32:21 ET
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