Cardinals Fall to George Mason
Patriots utilize late run to pull away from Lamar
BEAUMONT, Texas – George Mason went on a 10-2 run in the final 6:33 of the game to pull away from Lamar, 68-54, Tuesday night at the Montagne Center. The Patriots, who returned all five starters from last year's team, shot 63 percent in the second half to prevent Lamar (0-2) from making an extended run.
"I could schedule cupcakes and we could be 2-0 but that doesn't accomplish anything," said head coach Pat Knight. "People have to face facts we're going to take our lumps in the non-conference. These kids are getting better but we have to find that three or four guy. We know Nimrod and Donovan can score but we need other guys to step up. This is a very good team we played tonight."
For the second-straight outing Lamar was led by the junior duo of Donovan Ross and Nimrod Hilliard. Ross continued his near perfect start to the season leading the team with 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting, while Hilliard added 14 points. Hilliard also grabbed six rebounds and dished out three assists.
The Cardinals managed only nine field goals in the first half but kept the deficit to single digits, despite George Mason's 15-of-31 (.484) performance. Lamar kept the game tight by taking advantage of their free throws in the first half. LU converted 10-of-12 (.833) attempts to head into the locker room down only eight points, 37-28.
Lamar jumped out of the gate quickly in the second half knocking down four of their first six attempts to cut the lead to four points just over two minutes into the half. The Patriots responded by pushing the lead out to 13 points, 54-41, with 12:07 remaining.
The Cardinals once again went to work chipping away at the Mason lead. Lamar narrowed the gap to six points, 58-52, with 6:33 in the contest but that is when the veteran GMU squad made one final surge late in the game to pull away. The Patriots closed the game with a 10-2 run in the final 6:10 to put the game away.
The veteran Mason squad found an advantage with its depth. GMU's bench outscored Lamar's bench, 30-9. Lamar's defensive pressure forced the Patriots into 19 turnovers, but the Cards were unable to take complete advantage of the extra opportunities. The Cardinals were only able to convert the 19 turnovers into 15 points.
Lamar finished the game 19-of-53 (.358) from the floor, while the Patriots were 27-of-50 (.540). LU was only able to get back to the free throw line four times in the second half but finished the game 14-of-16 (.875).
Mason finished with four players in double digits led by Sherrod Wright and Patrick Holloway's 13 points.
The Cardinals return to action Saturday when they travel to Pullman, Wash., to take on Washington State. The game against the Cougars is slated to begin at 9:30 (11:30 Central time) p.m.
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