- ‘Gay Jeans’ that fade into rainbow-colored denim created
- Divided court strikes down big porn award
- Jimmy Carter: Don’t hurt Russian people with sanctions
- Oldest ex-MLB player dies in Cuba, 2 days shy of 103rd birthday
- ‘Top Gun’ for drones: Squadrons of carrier-based killers have Navy’s approval
- Bill Clinton to endorse Charlie Rangel for re-election
- Pfc. Bradley Manning is now Pfc. Chelsea Manning: Court says so
- Secret base U.S. special forces used to train Libyans now under terrorist control: report
- 9th suspect in N.C. kidnapping turns self in to FBI
- L.A. sheriff admits to testing flyover spy program without notifying residents
George Mason beats UNC Wilmington 67-61, despite inconsistencies
The halfway juncture of George Mason's conference schedule arrived with the Patriots playing a middle-of-the-road game.
They couldn't shoot from the perimeter. They could defend. And they generated just enough transition opportunities to dispatch UNC Wilmington 67-61 on Monday before 4,147 at the Patriot Center.
This Mason team isn't always the easiest on the eyes. Yet the Patriots still make the turn in CAA play in sole possession of first place, a game clear of Drexel, Old Dominion and Virginia Commonwealth.
And that counts for quite a bit.
"I think we're moving in the right direction, there's no question about that," coach Paul Hewitt said. "Defensively, we're staying pretty solid. When we don't turn it over, we're moving it and getting good looks. We just didn't make shots the second half of last game and both halves of this game."
Two guys who did Monday were forward Ryan Pearson (20 points, 12 rebounds) and guard Bryon Allen (17 points), the only players to reach double figures for the Patriots (16-5, 8-1 CAA).
KK Simmons scored 18 points off the bench for the Seahawks (8-11, 4-5), who have dropped eight straight to Mason.
They had a chance to end that streak, leading for much of the first half and withstanding an extended Patriots' rally — a 27-8 run spanning the break — to eventually close back within a point.
Then Mason repeated its recent formula. It got stops. It busted out into transition for Allen's three-point play. It penetrated toward the end of the game after finally growing weary of shooting errant shots over UNCW's zone. And it finally made some free throws.
And so the Patriots ended the night where they started, and sit about where most figured they would with nine conference games to go.
"We talked before the game about 'Hey, we're in first place by ourselves, and you're going to get the best shot everybody's got to offer, and you have to stand up and play with some confidence,' " Hewitt said. "Maybe I made them look down. You're climbing up a mountain and all the sudden you get a little nervous."
Mason's players might argue against being nervous. There's little debate the Patriots remain inconsistent, a team still searching for its peak with only 10 games to go in the regular season.
The Patriots' weaknesses are obvious, though some progress was made Monday. Mason committed 13 turnovers, including just four in the second half. Its defensive rebounding, a middling 50/50 split two days earlier against Towson, improved to 68.2 percent against the Seahawks.
"We just have to keep working," Pearson said. "For us, 8-1 is great, but we can't get comfortable."
It would be hard to feel that way anyway. Comfortable victories are a rare thing in Fairfax these days, even at home.
UNC Wilmington wasn't fully dispatched until the final minute. Same goes with Towson. Five of the Patriots' last six victories have come by 12 points or less.
The Patriots aren't finished growing, even with the CAA schedule halfway done. Improvement continues to come for the league leaders, even if Mason doesn't always play the part of a dominant conference heavyweight.
"If we're blowing people out, I'll be happy but I'll be surprised at the effort level of other people," Hewitt said. "It's going to be this type of thing for the rest of the year where people are going to come at you. We feel like we're better than everybody else in the league, and that's the way we're talking about trying to be a confident group like that."
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Patrick Stevens has covered Maryland and other Mid-Atlantic college sports for more than a decade. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- George Mason's defense dissipates in 84-74 loss to Northeastern
- Maryland's Pe'Shon Howard willing to let others put ball in the basket
- At 7-5, George Mason looks on the bright side entering CAA play
- Terps beat IUPUI, set for ACC after final tuneup
- Maryland's Jake Layman shows signs of progress in freshman season
Latest Blog Entries
By Andrew P. Napolitano
Obama's veil of secrecy is pierced
- Pentagon plans to replace flight crews with 'full-time' robots
- 'Top Gun' for drones: Squadrons of carrier-based killers have Navy's approval
- CARSON: When government looks more like foe than friend
- Kansas will nullify local regulation of guns
- Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy hailed as patriot, ripped as lawless deadbeat
- America is an oligarchy, not a democracy or republic, university study finds
- Washington Redskins' 2014 schedule opens with Texans
- Texas is next! AG warns BLM wants 90,000 acres after Bundy ranch standoff
- Opposition rising to Colorado gun control laws
- Harry Reid using tax dollars to fight Koch brothers, La. GOP chair charges
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Celebrity deaths in 2014