» PHOTOS: Top shots from Wednesday’s game
Grant gave the reserves more playing time than he has in recent weeks, and they did not perform well.
With Dayton leading 14-8 seven minutes into the game, it went through a stretch with the two freshman guards, Jalen Crutcher and Jordan Davis, on the floor with the two freshmen forwards, Matej Svoboda and Kostas Antetokounmpo, and junior point guard John Crosby. That group had played a total of five minutes together all season.
Svoboda missed three straight shots during that span. Then Antetokounmpo missed a 3-pointer. Everyone but Crutcher left the game with nine minutes left in the half after George Mason tied the game at 14-14.
» RELATED: All-around poor performance leads to 18-point loss
Despite that stretch, Dayton was still in the game with under four minutes to play in the first half. Crutcher tied the game at 25-25 with 3:33 to go on a 3-pointer. Then George Mason answered with an 11-0 run. Otis Livingston II, who scored 29 points, had five points in that span.
George Mason led 36-27 at halftime. Dayton cut the deficit to seven points in the second half but trailed by double digits for the last 14:53. George Mason scored 13 points in a three-minute span early in the half. Dayton had no answer
The Patriots (12-14, 6-7) moved a game ahead of Dayton (11-14, 5-8). George Mason shares seventh place with St. Joseph’s and Duquesne.
George Mason beat Dayton for the first time in Atlantic 10 play. The Patriots’ only previous victory in the series came on Nov. 17, 2007, in Fairfax. They were a member of the Colonial Athletic Association then.
“It’s a great win for our guys,” George Mason coach Dave Paulsen said. “I think we really defended at a high level for the vast majority of the game. They’re really good in transition, and we did a good job with our transition defense. We did a good job minus the first three or four minutes taking care of the ball and getting good shots, and one of the best ways to stop a transition team is by running good offense.”
» NOTES: Livingston dominates for Patriots
The Flyers shot 38.2 percent from the field. It was their worst percentage since they shot 37.1 percent in an 81-65 loss at St. Joseph’s. The Patriots shot 50.9 percent from the field and 52.6 percent from 3-point range (10 of 19). It was their best 3-point shooting effort in A-10 play. George Mason beat Dayton 39-26 on the boards.
There were no bright spots for the Flyers.
“I didn’t think we played well either half, to be honest,” Grant said. “We didn’t have the fire and the intensity on the defensive end. Obviously, you’re going to have nights when shots don’t fall, but you’ve got to have a toughness about you that you can play through that on the defensive end and get stops and get rebounds. We missed 60 percent of our shots in the first half, and we had zero offensive rebounds.”