MBB: George Mason Ends Penn State’s Four Game Win Streak
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Coming into Wednesday night, George Mason and Penn State both were riding four game win streaks.
For Penn State (6-4), they saw their streak come to an end as they lost to George Mason (7-3) by a score of 85-66.
The Nittany Lions, who have recently been playing great basketball, looked like a different team Wednesday night, especially in the second half when they were outscored by 20 points.
George Mason imposed their will inside on Penn State as they were able to tally 42 points in the paint compared to Penn State’s 16 points. The smaller Patriots also bullied Penn State on the boards by outrebounding them by 15.
Marquise Moore for George Mason was one of the biggest contributors to the Patriots’ 85 points as he led all scorers with 25 points and also had a double-double with 13 rebounds.
George Mason head coach Dave Paulsen was very pleased with Moore’s performance not only on the scoreboard, but on the glass.
“He is a tough kid and he is an elite level athlete with both quickness and strength that really embraces the role of small ball basketball and does a phenomenal job of executing it,” Paulsen said.
Peyton Banks had 21 points for the Nittany Lions and had a career high five three-pointers, while both Shep Garner and Lamar Stevens contributed 13 points each.
Banks, who had a great night scoring wise, was disappointed with his effort on the glass and really didn’t acknowledge his 21-point night.
“It really starts with people like me, I had zero rebounds, we can’t rely on guys like Lamar and Mike to rebound,” Banks said. “We lacked guard rebounding tonight and it showed on the scoreboard.”
Garner would open the game up with an electrifying alley-oop to Mike Watkins who slammed it down for the first two points of the game.
Penn State and George Mason would exchange baskets until Banks hit his second three of the game, giving Penn State a 13-10 lead with 15:34 left in the first half.
George Mason answered to three by scoring six straight and had the lead at four with a score of 17-13, 13:58 into the game.
The Nittany Lions would then go cold from the floor as they would only connect on one of their next nine baskets.
After a four minute field goal drought, Garner swished a three from the left wing to cut the Patriots’ lead to four at 22-18 with 11:25 left.
Both teams would continue to exchange baskets and the lead would change 12 times throughout the first half.
With just under two minutes in the first, Banks made his fourth three of the game and gave Penn State the lead at 33-30.
After two Stevens free throws with 58 seconds left in the first half, Penn State took a 38-37 lead into halftime.
After halftime, it would be all George Mason at they would dominate Penn State in all aspects of the game from rebounding to scoring.
The Nittany Lions would hold their last lead of the game under a minute into the second half when they had a 40-39 lead after a Stevens free throw.
Banks, who as the primary scoring option for Penn State, was cold in the second half as he missed his first four attempts. Without Banks, Penn State could not find a source for their offense and would fall behind quickly.
George Mason would use a 9-0 run to create separation from Penn State with 15:44 remaining.
Banks made his fifth three of the game with 11:05 in the second half and would bring Penn State within three points at 54-51.
However, George Mason would respond and would then go on a 7-0 run to again further the gap between the two teams. Penn State would then quickly fall behind and before they knew it were down by 19 with under a minute remaining.
Head Coach Pat Chambers was disappointed in his team’s effort and how they were beating themselves up after missed shots.
“We looked young tonight for whatever reason. We have to learn from this and we need to not allow missing shots to dictate our effort on the court,” Chambers said.
“This is a process, I can’t make my freshmen sophomores and I can’t make my sophomores juniors, so we will learn from these mistakes and get better tomorrow.”
Penn State will look to bounce back Saturday as they head to Newark, New Jersey to take on Pittsburgh in the second game of a doubleheader in the Never Forget Tribute Classic.
Greg Merchlinsky is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism and minoring in political science. To contact him, email email@example.com.