Northeastern (5-7) at George Mason (7-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 3, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Patriot Center (10,000) -- Fairfax, Virginia. Television: NBCSN. Home Record: Northeastern 1-5, George Mason 3-1. Away Record: Northeastern 2-1, George Mason 2-3. Neutral Record: Northeastern 2-1, George Mason 2-1. Conference Record: Northeastern 0-0, George Mason 0-0. Series Record: George Mason leads, 10-9.
GAMES NOTES: The Colonial Athletic Association schedule begins for both the Northeastern Huskies and the George Mason Patriots on Thursday night when the two teams collide at the Patriot Center.
The Huskies have been crumbling over the last few weeks and after an 83-63 loss to UAB in their last outing, they have now lost seven of their last eight games. That has ruined a promising start and leaves the team at just 5-7 overall. The Huskies have managed a pair of wins in three road contests.
This past Saturday the Patriots were defeated on the road against South Florida, 61-57. The setback continued a trend of trading wins and losses for George Mason which hasn't won back-to-back games since November. The Patriots are 3-1 at home.
Last season these teams split the season series with the home team coming out on top in each game. George Mason leads the all-time series 10-9.
In their loss to UAB the Huskies shot just 35.9 percent from the field and were lit up for 83 points as the Blazers connected on 52.7 percent of their own field goal attempts. The loss didn't stop Quincy Ford from having a strong game as he recorded a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Ford (12.6 pg, 7.2 rpg) is one of four players scoring in double figures for the Huskies this year. Joel Smith (16.7 ppg) has been the leader in that category but is coming off a season-worst four points against UAB. Smith had scored at least 22 points in consecutive games before that. Jonathan Lee (15.0 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 5.0 apg) missed the first nine games of the season but has been stuffing the stat sheet since his return. Reggie Spencer (11.9 ppg, 6.7 rpg) rounds out the primary scoring options for Northeastern which has no other players scoring more than 6.5 points per game. As a team the Huskies are scoring 66.8 points per game and shooting 43.1 percent from the field which are both the fourth best marks in the conference.
George Mason rallied from a 13-point deficit in the second half and whittled the South Florida lead down to two points with 33 seconds remaining. It was too little too late though, as the Bulls knocked down six free throws in the final seconds to seal the win.
Despite a rather poor offensive showing this year the Patriots have managed to hold a positive scoring margin (+1.7) thanks to playing strong defense. The Patriots are allowing only 61.1 points per game, while teams shoot at just a 39.8 percent clip from the floor against them. On the other end the Patriots have been less than stellar with the Patriots putting in only 62.8 points per game, while shooting 42.7 percent. Sherrod Wright (17.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg) has almost been carrying the Patriots by himself on the offensive end. He is shooting better than 50 percent from the field and is the only player on the team seeing more than 25 minutes per game. After Wright there aren't many scoring options, with Johnny Williams (7.7 ppg) second on the roster.
Even though they haven't been able to score much this season the Patriots have made enough stops on defense to earn more wins than losses. The Huskies will present a challenge to that with their more balanced offensive attack, but George Mason should be able to pull out a win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: George Mason 66, Northeastern 61
01/03 10:45:15 ET