George Mason (5-2) vs. Maryland (5-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, December 2, 2:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Verizon Center (18,277) -- Washington, D.C. Television: MASN. Home Record: George Mason 2-0, Maryland 4-0. Away Record: George Mason 1-1, Maryland 1-0. Neutral Record: George Mason 2-1, Maryland 0-1. Conference Record: George Mason 0-0, Maryland 0-0. Series Record: Maryland leads, 7-0.
GAME NOTES: A pair of five-win teams square off on Sunday afternoon at the Verizon Center as the Maryland Terrapins and the George Mason Patriots take part in the 18th annual BB&T Classic.
Maryland opened the season with a tough draw on a neutral floor against No. 3 Kentucky, and it fought hard before losing, 72-69. Since then however, the Terrapins have ripped off five straight wins, most recently toppling Northwestern on the road on Wednesday as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, 77-57.
Since starting the season 2-2, George Mason has won three games in a row. The Patriots claimed their final contest of the Paradise Jam versus Quinnipiac (74-58) and returned home to defeat Boston University (48-45), before topping Rhode Island (55-52) on the road last time out.
Maryland has won all seven previous matchups against George Mason, including in the 2004 BB&T Classic, 78-54.
George Mason has shot a respectable 43.6 percent from the field, but it has only resulted in 59.6 ppg. The team has stifled opponents into making just 36.9 percent of its baskets though, for 56.3 ppg. The last two games have been especially grueling on the offensive end of the court, as the Patriots have put up 103 points total against Boston University and Rhode Island, yet came away with a pair of wins. Sherrod Wright tallied 14 points and seven rebounds in the nail-biting win over URI on Wednesday, while Vaughn Gray came off the bench to score 10 points. Wright connects on 50 percent of his field goals through seven games, including 40 percent of his 3-point attempts en route to 14.9 ppg, however no other Patriot scores in double figures on a nightly basis. Johnny Williams adds 9.3 ppg, and Erik Copes grabs a team-high 6.3 rpg for a squad that outrebounds its opponents by nearly three boards per contest.
The Terps have gotten off to a fast start with a deadly combination of hot shooting (.480 field goal percentage) and lock-down play on the defensive end of the court (.374 field goal percentage defense), which has resulted in nearly a +14 scoring margin. Their impressive season may have reached new highs on Wednesday, shooting 52.7 percent from the field on the road, while handing Northwestern its first loss of the season. Leading the way for Maryland was Dez Wells, who connected on 9-of-11 from the floor for a game- high 23 points. Alex Len tallied 13 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks, while Nick Faust chipped in 10 points. On the season, Len has been one of the best big men in the ACC, shooting greater than 55 percent from the field for 15.2 ppg, while also adding 9.0 rpg and nearly three blocks per contest. Wells (12.0 ppg) and Faust (10.5 ppg) are also consistent scorers. While Pe'Shon Howard is non-factor shooting the ball (2.7 ppg), he helps out with 6.8 apg.
George Mason has been able to skate by recently without playing its best, but against a hot Maryland squad it will have its hands full. The Terps have been rolling and show no signs of slowing down.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Maryland 72, George Mason 65
12/02 10:37:20 ET