George Mason snapped a five game losing streak by beating the Saint Louis Billikens, 68-60, at the Patriot Center. George Mason and Saint Louis struggled on the offensive end, but the difference in this game was a 10-0 run early in the second half by the Patriots. During this run, GMU had 6 points from center Shevon Thompson and the run was capped off by guard Corey Edwards’ 3-pointer.
The Washington DC area has not been kind to the Saint Louis Billikens this season. After a dramatic 75-72 loss against the George Washington Colonials, the Bills struggled against a team who was predicted to finish 13th in the Atlantic 10 preseason conference poll. It seemed like the Bills were playing to the level of the Patriots and lacked energy during most of the game.
Saint Louis and George Mason both had very slow starts. The game was 6-4 with 13:46 left in the first half. SLU held the early advantage and appeared to gain some momentum about halfway through the first half after a dunk by forward Milik Yarbrough and a layup by guard Davell Roby to claim a 5 point lead. GMU’s Head Coach Paul Hewitt called timeout to regroup his team and that seemed to undercut SLU’s energy for the rest of the game.
The Patriots took the lead on a Corey Edwards 3-point play to take an 18-17 lead with 5:42 left in the first half. However, the game remained within a manageable margin for the Billikens, but they were unable to reclaim the lead. GMU and SLU played at a similar level for the remainder of the first half. It was not pretty, but the Patriots held a 5 point lead going into halftime.
After the Bills cut the lead down to 2 points on a John Manning bucket, the Patriots went on their 10-0 run to seal the game. GMU took advantage of two missed shots and a turnovers by Saint Louis to go on this run as Thompson made shots on the other end. After the Edwards 3-pointer, SLU Head Coach Jim Crews called timeout and was clearly frustrated with his team.
SLU had a brief 7-0 run to cut the Patriot lead down to 5 points with 6:30 left in the second half, but the Patriots responded with their own 7-2 run to stretch their lead back into double digits. SLU missed some opportunities to cut further into the Mason lead, but they struggled to show any energy in this game.
SLU is now 1-6 in A-10 conference play and will have to play a Massachusetts team coming off a big win against Dayton. Saint Louis is struggling at the moment, they have lost 7 of their last 8 games and seem to play to the level of their competition. They have been inconsistent and go cold for long stretches. They are young, but at this point in the season, that cop out holds less weight.
Saint Louis will return home to play the Massachusetts Minutemen on Saturday, Jan. 31st at 4 p.m. eastern time. George Mason will travel to play the Duquesne Dukes to play on Saturday, Jan. 31st at 7 p.m. eastern time.