– by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief
FAIRFAX, Va. — An unexpected loss by the current frontrunner in the Atlantic 10 Conference gave George Mason an opportunity to move one step closer to the league lead, a chance it gladly seized upon at home Sunday afternoon.
Sophomore guard Javon Greene scored a career-high 21 points as George Mason used a strong shooting performance to defeat La Salle 84-76 at EagleBank Arena. The win, coupled with a loss by league-leader Davidson to then last-place Massachusetts earlier in the week, moves the Patriots to within a half-game of the lead in the A-10.
Three other players scored in double figures for the Patriots (14-10, 8-3 A-10), who shot at least 50 percent in each half. Forward Jarred Reuter had 16 points and five rebounds while guard Justin Kier chipped in with 13 points and eight rebounds. Point guard Otis Livingston II had 14 points, five assists and four rebounds.
Mason dominated inside against the smaller Explorers, winning the battle on the boards 36-23 while scoring 46 points in the paint.
After falling behind 15-6 early, La Salle (7-15, 5-5) went on a 19-7 run to take a three-point lead, capped off by an Ed Croswell layup. Saul Phiri hit a three-pointer with 11 seconds remaining in the first half to give the Explorers a 39-37 lead going into intermission.
With the game tied at 67, Kier hit a three with 7:45 remaining that gave the Patriots the lead for good.
Five players scored in double figures for La Salle, which saw its four-game winning streak snapped. Pookie Powell led all Explorers players with 18 points while also dishing out six assists. Phiri scored 17, including hitting five of his eight three-point attempts.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Sunday afternoon’s game, with all photos taken by DC-Area photographer Yusuf Abdullah. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 16 pictures in total.