Fairfax, VA – Friday Night the George Mason Men’s basketball team came out ready to go from the start. The Patriots built an early lead and went on to an 83-69 victory over the Longwood Lancers in front of 5,185 fans inside EagleBank Arena.
The victory comes on the heels of Monday Night’s 70-52 opening loss to #15th ranked Auburn. Tonight’s victory felt very different from the start, the Patriots came with energy on both sides of the ball. With contributions from 10 players, they were spreading the scoring early. Junior guard Ronald Polite Jr. ran the point and starters Victor Bailey Jr., Davonte ‘Ticket’ Gaines, DeVon Cooper and Josh Oduro got the scoring going early.
The Longwood Lancers entered the game coming off a loss to #20 Alabama in their season opener. The preseason favorites in the Big South conference, they received 16 out of a possible first place votes. Graduate Students Isaiah Wilkins and DeShaun Wade were picked to the Big South preseason first team.
Mason built an early lead off defensive stops and transition baskets. 8 minutes into the contest the Patriots had held Wilkins and Wade to a combined 4 pts. This allowed the Patriots to build a double-digit lead, a lead they maintained the whole game. Longwood kept the deficit to around 10, however the Lancers failed to ever cut it to less than 8. The Green and Gold finished off the visitors in the final minute as cheers broke out from the fans.
Mason (1-1) shot 54.7 percent from the floor and hit on 9-of-22 3-point attempts (.409). The Patriots held the Lancers to just 3 makes from beyond the arc, limiting them to 3-of-13 (.231 for the game).
Senior Josh Oduro paced the Patriots with a game-high 20 points and 12 rebounds to record the 10th double-double of his career. Oduro made 6-of-7 from the floor and provided three assists in 31 minutes of action.
Graduate guard Bailey Jr. contributed 13 pts and three assists, Senior Gaines provided 11 pts and six rebounds, Freshman Justyn Fernandez knocked down 3 tres in his home debut for the first nine points of his career. Rounding out the box score, Cooper added 8 pts, Ginika Ojiako and Malik Henry both chipped in 6 pts, Polite III 5 pts, Blake Jones 3 pts and Saquan Singleton had 2 pts.
The Patriots return to action on Sunday at home inside EagleBank Arena. Tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m. vs the American Eagles. For more information visit https://gomason.com/.