George Mason (7-6) at William & Mary (7-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 5, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Kaplan Arena (8,600) -- Williamsburg, Virginia. Television: CSN-MA, TCN, CSN-NE. Home Record: George Mason 3-2, W&M 4-1. Away Record: George Mason 1-2, W&M 3-4. Neutral Record: George Mason 3-2, W&M 0-0. Conference Record: George Mason 0-1, W&M 1-0. Series Record: George Mason leads, 37-27.
GAME NOTES: The George Mason Patriots try to bring an end to a two-game slide on Saturday afternoon, as they clash with the William & Mary Tribe in Colonial Athletic Association action from Kaplan Arena in Williamsburg.
Now just a single game over .500 for the season, the Patriots have dropped three of their last four outings, including an 84-74 matchup with Northeastern at home on Thursday night.
As for the Tribe, it began the 2012-13 campaign with a three-game win streak and then bounced back from a three-game slide with a four-game run, but like the Patriots the team is now dealing with back-to-back defeats. The latest setback came on Wednesday when the program was taken out by Vanderbilt, 64-50, on the road.
In terms of the all-time series between these two programs, the Patriots are ahead by a count of 37-27 in one of the most heavily-played series for George Mason.
George Mason shot an impressive 53.6 percent from the floor in the first half against Northeastern on Thursday, leading to a seven-point lead at the break, but then the team made just 39.4 percent after intermission and allowed the Huskies to knock down 64.3 percent at the same time, resulting in the double- digit setback. Sherrod Wright led the offense with 19 points and Vertrail Vaughns chipped in 13 off the bench in the losing cause. Wright, who has held at least a share of the scoring lead for the Patriots in at least 11 of their games thus far, is producing 17.5 ppg as he makes good on 43.8 percent of his 3-point tries. Unfortunately, as a team George Mason is generating just 63.7 ppg, but the good news is that the defense is allowing 62.8 ppg so there is a positive scoring margin for the squad at the moment.
On the road at Vanderbilt, the Tribe dug itself a hole in the first half when it shot just 7-of-21 from the floor, yet only trailed by five points at the break. Still with hope, W&M came out in the second half and promptly converted a mere 34.6 percent from the field, ending any chance at a comeback bid. Marcus Thornton led the offense with 14 points, but in addition to turning the ball over five times, he also made just 5-of-16 shots from the floor, followed by Tim Rusthoven and Matt Rum with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Kyle Gaillard registered all 10 of his rebounds at the defensive end of the floor, which explains why he tallied only five points. The leading scorer for the Tribe in the majority of their outings, Thornton is responsible for 17.9 ppg, followed by Rusthoven with 14.0 ppg as he shoots 56.5 percent from the field for a team hitting at a 47.5 percent clip.
Defensively, the Tribe give themselves a chance by limiting the competition to just 39.6 percent shooting from the field and 25.6 percent out on the perimeter, so expect to see the hosts put up a strong fight this weekend as they try to earn their second CAA win in as many tries.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: William & Mary 66, George Mason 62
01/05 10:41:52 ET