Erik Copes fouled out of George Mason's defeat of James Madison on Tuesday. Marko Gujanicic had three fouls at halftime and four early in the second half.
Meanwhile, junior Jonathan Arledge played all of two minutes (a season low) just a few days after making his first start since before Thanksgiving.
It looked like a bit of a head-scratcher --- why would the Patriots shelve one of their top four frontcourt players with so many foul issues? --- but coach Paul Hewitt had a reasoned argument for the move after the Patriots (10-7, 3-2 CAA) claimed a 68-57 victory.
"We anticipated them pressing us and sometimes he has trouble with that," Hewitt said. "I came into the game with the idea that Paris [Bennett], who is really strong back there taking the ball out and seeing the floor, and Marko, with how strong he is back there, we came in with the idea those two guys would be key inbounders."
Bennett played 17 minutes, scoring two points and adding seven rebounds. Gujanicic had 10 points and 10 rebounds, only the Patriots' second double-double of the season.
Oddly enough, James Madison (9-9, 3-2) took an unexpected tack on defense. Nonetheless, the the use of Bennett and Gujanicic didn't backfire on Mason.
"Last year, when we had a big lead they pressed us and got back into the game," Hewitt said. "The game here last year, I think they pressed us and were effective. It worked out, too. Marko made a couple nice plays. Paris did a nice job when they did press. They didn't press as much as we thought."
--- Patrick Stevens