The first few minutes of action brought a bit of a melancholy with both sides not able to find any type of offensive rhythm. Eventually, the Eagles were able to get a bit of buzz going and hit some great mid-range jumpers including a big three by CJ Penha to force a GMU timeout. They were able to hold the Patriots to just one shot attempt in the first four minutes and break out to a quick 11-2 lead.
Naturally, the Patriots were able to readjust and find some open shooters on the perimeter and cut down on the Eagles lead. However, Demarr Langford was not going to let that offensive push come easy as he was able to hit some contested turnaround jumpers and start out 4 of 5 form the floor to keep the Eagles ahead by six by the U12.
Over the next five minutes, the Eagles started to hit the throttle on both ends of the floor and push their lead out to double digits. They managed to crank up the intensity offensively and begin to attack the basket with a lot of success while also forcing the Patriots to shoot from the perimeter with not much success.
The next six minutes proved terrible for the Patriots as they went on a compelte scoring drought as it looked as though their game-plan was try to live or die by the three. Over that time period, the Eagles strutted their feathers with confidence and extended their offensive prowess by pushing the lead up to 21 by the three minute mark.
Closing out the first half, the Eagles continued their dominance offensively capping off a putback tip-in by Madsen at the buzzer. They finished the half up 47-21 having only attempted 2 three-pointers and shooting 59% from the field. Makai led all scorers with 13 points, but just about everyone contributed massively in the first half.
As for George Mason, they went just 3-11 from beyond the arc an 7-24 (29.2%) from the field. They also were losing the turnover battle massively as they threw the ball away 8 times in the half to BC’s 4. Not to mention rebounding as well as the Eagles held the edge 23 to 13. Also, massive shotout to McGlocktonm who showcased his presence down low not allowing anything in the paint with some big-time blocks that only helped to fuel the adrenaline that was pumping for the Eagles.
The second start started a little more lackluster for the Eagles as the Patriots were able to get a bit of an offensive rhythm to start the closing half. George Mason found some room from beyond the arc and were able to hit back-to-back threes and trailed by 20 at the U16 mark. Yet, multiple fouls by GMU killed just about every rally that they tried to get on and let the Eagles maintain control.
Nonetheless, the Eagles could not seem to get into as consistent of a rhythm as they did in the first half and the Patriots were making them pay. Victor Bailey and Dinkina were able to hit some cruicial threes to bring the lead down to 16 at the U8.
However, the Eagles early strong first half performance proved insurmountable to any George Mason surge as the Eagles were able to hit cruise control and handedly win 71-56.
Overall, a lot of positives to this game. Unfortunately, most of them are in the first half. The opening half showcased sound defense, great ball security and the ability to dominate the paint on both sides of the floor. To paraphrase one of the announcers on the broadcast, the ability for the Eagles to compete a full forty minutes proved futile. The second half saw a lot of regression to their olds habits as they turned the ball over 8 times in the half. Offensively, they stagnated and simply were forcing too many bad shots and having a tougher time finishing. Credit to George Mason for buckling down more, but the Eagles have to be able to spread the ball a little more effectively to space things out to result in cleaner looks at the cup.
Either way, a solid performance all around for the Eagles as they move to 3-1 on the season. As for the tournament, they now advance to the Semifinals where they will face Tarleton State on Sunday with a 6:45 PM tip.