Men’s basketball loses their home opener
BY NATALIE HEAVREN SPORTS EDITOR
Mason men’s basketball opened their season with a heartbreaking close 72-71 loss to the University of Pennsylvania.
Mason got off to a slow start with redshirt junior transfer from the University of Virginia Jarred Reuter scoring the first four points for the team, though he picked up an early foul.
The Patriots struggled with fouls early, picking up five in the first six minutes of the game. Senior Jaire Grayer picked up two fouls in the first 95 seconds, and did not come back in until after the second media timeout more than eight minutes into the game.
Reuter picked up his second foul with 11:40 left in the first half, leaving the game for the rest of the half after scoring seven points and grabbing a rebound in his first six minutes on the court.
Halfway through the first half, Penn had control of the momentum and a five-point lead. However, Mason reclaimed the lead less than six minutes later and didn’t give it up until less than three minutes remained in the game.
Mason would take a 37-33 lead into halftime after Javon Greene hit two free throws and Justin Kier made a layup in the last 24 seconds of the half.
The Patriots had a lead as large as nine with 13:30 left in the game, but struggled to break away as the clock moved towards 00:00.
The Quakers took control of the momentum between 4:14 and 2:17 left in the game, scoring six straight points to go up by 1. With the game tied at 71, Greene missed a layup and Penn grabbed the rebound.
In the final seconds of the game, the Quakers missed their last five free throws. However, in the last nine seconds, neither Kier nor Livingston II could hit.
Head coach Dave Paulsen summed up the game in his first sentence of the press conference, stating, “This was a heartbreaking and devastating loss.”
Paulsen was joined at the press conference by Livingston and Kier.
“I’ve got to give a lot of credit to Penn, they executed, they made big plays down the stretch,” said Paulsen. “I thought our guys played really hard but defensively terrific in the last eight, ten, 12 minutes of the first half, but they shot 70 percent in the second half.”
Livingston II, who scored twelve points total with four in the second half, took some credit for the team’s poor defensive play saying, “Being a senior … I’m supposed to set the tone for my team defensively, and I didn’t do that.”
Kier also commented on the team’s play towards the end of the game stating, “When adversity hit we didn’t respond, so we’ve got to learn from this.”
The leading scorer for the Patriots was Reuter, who added 15 points for the Patriots despite playing for only 17 minutes, which was not solely due to his early foul trouble. “Regardless of fouls he couldn’t have played more,” said Paulsen.
The Quakers had three players score in double figures: AJ Brodeur, Antonio Woods and Michael Wang, who scored 19, 10 and 14 points respectively. Wang led all scorers with four made threes, making twice as many as the Mason team did.
The Patriots play again Nov. 9 when they take on American University at 7 p.m.