It was a good night for the Georges (Mason and Washington) on the road, while American evened its record in the Patriot League ...
FORTUNES RISING, TEAM
Even if the Patriots got to 77 points as part of an over-whistled foul-fest, they still made it to 77 (while giving up 67 to Towson). And that's a good sign.
Yes, Mason could have tried to continue to win ugly games from now until eternity (or, more realistically, March). But credit to coach Paul Hewitt for at least trying to figure out if Mason could score more than it has all season and plugging Bryon Allen into the starting lineup.
What the Patriots (12-7, 5-2 CAA) direly need is a reliable second scorer. At some point, somebody is going to stifle Sherrod Wright enough to force someone else to do damage if Mason is going to win. Maybe Allen will turn out to be that guy. He has a much better chance of emerging as such an option if he's in the starting lineup. Chances are, he will be when the Patriots visits Northeastern on Sunday.
FORTUNES RISING, INDIVIDUAL
Joe McDonald, George Washington
The freshman's jumper with 9.3 seconds remaining bumped the Colonials past Rhode Island 66-65. McDonald had 11 of his 12 points in the second half.
McDonald isn't a finished product, but the Colonials (9-9, 3-2 Atlantic 10) are leaning heavily upon him anyway. And why not? He's a guard --- not a point guard or shooting guard, mind you, but just a guard --- coach Mike Lonergan will be relying upon for some time to come.
The experience of being stopped, regaining possession and creating a shot along the baseline in that situation will prove beneficial moving forward. For the short-term, GW is in solid company populated the massive middle of the pack in the A-10.
The Tigers have lost consecutive games for the first time in a month and received arguably their worst game from forward Jerrelle Benimon in that stretch.
But don't take my word for it.
“He let his frustrations get to him,” Tigers coach Pat Skerry said. “He hurt us on both ends of the floor. You want to be a prime-time guy, you play every night. He was bad. He took bad shots. He was really bad defensively and then he hurt us at the foul line. He has to play better. Sometimes the ball doesn’t go in, but there’s other things. You can still guard. You still rebound. He took some horrific, horrific shots.”
Towson fell to 10-11 overall and 5-3 in the CAA.
NUMBER OF NOTE
Three-pointers made by American's John Schoof, one shy of the Eagles' school record. American (7-12, 2-2 Patriot) pulled away from Navy in the second half for a 72-49 victory at Bender Arena. Schoof finished with 27 points.
ELSEWHERE IN THE CORRIDOR
UMBC (4-15, 2-4 America East) narrowed a 15-point deficit to four before falling 67-60 to Stony Brook. That's nothing for the Retrievers to be ashamed of. ... Howard (4-17, 1-6 MEAC) shot 27.3 percent in a 63-46 loss at Delaware State. Simuel Frazier had 15 points for the Bison.
William & Mary fell in double overtime to CAA-leading Northeastern 95-91. Tim Rusthoven had 25 points as the Tribe (7-11, 1-6) lost their eighth in a row. ... Wonderfully erratic James Madison handled Delaware 64-50 just a few days after losing by 26 at Towson. The Dukes are 3-0 at home in league play and 10-10 overall. ... Radford (at Campbell) and VMI (at High Point) both lost in North Carolina.
ON TAP THURSDAY
A couple rivalries in the Old Dominion stand out on the schedule. The first part of the annual home-and-home between Virginia (12-5, 2-2 ACC) and Virginia Tech (11-6, 2-2) is at 8 p.m. in Blacksburg. ... Another first of (at least) two unfolds in the state capital as Virginia Commonwealth (16-3, 4-0 Atlantic 10) visits Richmond (12-7, 2-2) in an ever-feisty city rivalry. ...
The night's D1scourse game of choice is up by the Mason-Dixon line, as Mount St. Mary's (7-10, 2-4 Northeast) begins a stretch of seven home dates in 10 games when it welcomes Wagner (9-8, 3-3) to Emmitsburg. The Mount is 4-1 in Emmitsburg this season.
--- Patrick Stevens