Men’s Hoops Falls To George Mason 85-66
Penn State (6-4) saw its four-game non-conference winning streak snapped Wednesday night in the BJC. George Mason rallied past the Nittany Lions in the second half to emerge victorious, 85-66.
How It Happened
Mike Watkins won the opening tip, per usual, and Pat Chambers’ squad got off to a hot start against the Patriots, doubling them up 10-5 three minutes into the first half. Sophomore guard Josh Reaves checked in for Payton Banks a few moments earlier. Jordan Norwood’s brother Gabe took George Mason to the Final Four in 2006.
Dave Paulsen’s Patriots went on a 14-4 run to take the lead, 19-14, seven minutes into the ballgame. Watkins and Shep Garner executed a fancy fastbreak to perfection, cutting George Mason’s lead to 22-18 on a triple from Garner. Penn State finally retook the lead, 28-26, with six minutes and change left before the break, but the Patriots would grab it right back.
Payton Banks caught fire for the Nittany Lions, helping them take a 38-37 advantage into the locker room thanks to 16 points. The Orange, Calif., native tied a career-high with four three-pointers in the first half. Marquise Moore paced the Patriots with 13 points heading into the intermission. They outscored Penn State 22-8 in the paint. George Mason opened up a quick 48-40 lead over the Nittany Lions four minutes into the second frame, prompting a timeout from Chambers. Junior guard Terrence Samuel drew the blue and white within two of the lead, 50-48, with 13 minutes to play.
Banks’ next points came nine minutes into the second half, you guessed it, from three-point land. He made an impressive 5-of-11 shots from behind the arc Wednesday night to set a new career-high. Banks finished with a season-best 21 points. The Patriots took their biggest lead of the night, 64-53, as sophomore Jaire Grayer knocked down a three-ball of his own. Fans headed for the exits a little early with the Nittany Lions down by double-digits in the last few minutes. George Mason rode a 48-28 second-half whooping to victory in the Jordan Center.
Player Of The Game
Marquise Moore | Senior | Guard
The Queens, N.Y., native put together a phenomenal night for the Patriots, finishing with a game-high 25 points and 13 rebounds to complete the double-double. Moore added five assists and three steals to round out his stat-line.
The Nittany Lions will travel to Newark, N.J., for a 2:30 p.m. showdown with Pitt this Saturday in the Never Forget Tribute Classic.