Old Dominion (2-13) at George Mason (8-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 10, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Patriot Center (10,000) -- Fairfax, Virginia. Television: NBCSN. Home Record: ODU 1-9, GMU 3-2. Away Record: ODU 0-4, GMU 2-2. Neutral Record: ODU 1-0, GMU 3-2. Conference Record: ODU 0-3, GMU 1-1. Series Record: Old Dominion leads, 34-19.
GAME NOTES: The Old Dominion Monarchs will try for both their first road win and their first Colonial Athletic Association win on Thursday night, as they pull into Fairfax to take on the George Mason Patriots.
Considering that ODU has won 20 games or more in seven of the past eight seasons, its dreadful 2-13 start has been one of the biggest disappointments in the nation. The Monarchs recorded an impressive 63-61 victory over Virginia on Dec. 22 to snap a nine-game losing streak, but since then they have dropped each of their first three CAA tilts, most recently losing to Delaware last Saturday, 84-72.
George Mason had started the season rather strong, but it has tapered off a bit of late by losing four of its last seven games to fall to 8-6 on the year. The Patriots had lost back-to-back games at South Florida (61-57) and Northeastern in their CAA opener (84-74), but they bounced back nicely with a 73-66 road win over William & Mary last Saturday.
Although GMU has won three straight against ODU, the Monarchs still have a handle on the all-time series, 34-19.
Despite shooting just 33.3 percent from the field against Delaware, ODU was able to put up its highest point total in more than a month by shooting 20- of-34 from the foul line and attempting a whopping 27 more field goals than did the Blue Hens, but the Monarchs were saddled with the loss by sending UD to the stripe an incredible 50 times, which it converted 82 percent. Keenan Palmore tallied 14 points, five assists and three steals in the setback, while DeShawn Painter and Deion Clark netted 13 points apiece, and Nick Wright finished with 10. It has been ugly at both ends of the floor for ODU this season, as it shoots barely above 40 percent from the field for 63.3 ppg while allowing 70.1 ppg to the opposition. Painter (11.6 ppg, 8.3 rpg) is the team's top performer, while Donte Hill chips in 9.6 ppg and just over three assists per contest. There has been very little continuity, as nine different Monarchs have seen action in the starting lineup.
George Mason actually found itself trailing William & Mary at the half in its latest game, but it was able to surge to the seven-point victory by connecting on greater than 59 percent of its field goal attempts in the second half. Sherrod Wright was the biggest reason for the comeback, as he made 10-of-17 from the floor and 7-of-8 from the foul line for a career-high 28 points. He has now scored 19 points or more in six consecutive games, which has situated him as the CAA's second-leading scorer at 18.2 ppg. Corey Edwards was also strong in the triumph with 10 points and five assists. There hasn't been much on the scoring front besides Wright for George Mason this season, as it nets a modest 64.4 ppg, but a strong scoring defense (63.1 ppg) has ensured the team of a winning record. Johnny Williams is the Patriots' next-best scorer at 7.4 ppg, while Bryon Allen contributes 6.3 ppg and 3.0 apg.
This matchup features a couple of lackluster offenses, so a low-scoring final should be expected. George Mason boasts both the homecourt advantage and the game's best player in Wright, so the Patriots get the nod.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: George Mason 66, Old Dominion 52
01/10 10:37:20 ET