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“I thought he played well,” Hewitt said. “You could see his experienced helped him coming off a layoff like that.”

* Paint problems. Regardless of who is manning the backcourt for Mason, it’s clear the Patriots need to funnel the offense through forwards Mike Morrison and Ryan Pearson.

The two seniors combined for 19 points on 20 shots, and they managed only two free throws between them.

This against a team that started only one guy taller than 6-foot-6 and brought only one more off the bench.

“We were able to effectively keep the ball out of the interior, which I was not sure if we could do,” Duquesne coach Ron Everhart said.

* Home humbling. Mason mourned the end of its homecourt winning streak, which stretched back to the start of last season.

“It feels bad because we were on a winning streak [at home],” Cornelius said. “We said that coming out. It feels bad right now. It feels bad to lose at home. I hate losing period, but especially at home.”

The streak was tied for Mason’s longest at the Patriot Center.

* Dukes shuffle it up. Duquesne had started the same lineup for 11 straight games.

That changed when Everhart brought his four upperclassmen off the bench in response to a lackluster 85-71 loss at Western Michigan. McConnell was the lone regular starter to get the nod against Mason.

“We always had some obstacles to overcome at Duquesne ever since I’ve been there,” Everhart said. “The last thing I ever want to be is a coach who has a cool basketball team, and I thought in our last game, for the first time in a lot of years, maybe ever since I’ve been here, we were too cool to play hard. That’s not something that’s going to happen ever.”

* Up next. George Mason plays host to Manhattan (8-4) on Friday night in its final home game of the calendar year. The press-happy Jaspers are coming off an 81-62 victory at Towson and have already surpassed their victory total from last year.