BY NATALIE HEAVREN SPORTS EDITOR
“It’s just a tremendously gratifying win for our team,” said head coach Dave Paulsen after the game.
After a slow start in the first half, Mason took control of the game in the last ten minutes to pull out an 87-84 win against former Colonial Athletic Association rival, the College of William & Mary. Mason improved to 4-5 after their second straight win.
Here are four takeaways from the Patriots win.
- Assists are great and even better when they come from everyone
In a game where Mason scored a season-high 22 assists, 10 of them came from senior Otis Livingston II. The last time Livingston II had 10 assists was earlier this season against American University. In that game, the team put up 16, with Livingston II accounting for 62.5 percent of the team’s assists.
Against William & Mary, five other players recorded at least one assist. The bigs contributed 10 assists with Goanar Mar providing four, Jarred Reuter scoring three and Ian Boyd advancing three off the bench.
- The team can hit threes on pace with their opponents
Both Mason and William & Mary shot at least 40 percent from behind the arc, with the Patriots going 10-24. The Tribe made 12-30 of their shots.
William & Mary came into this game averaging nearly three more made threes per game. In a season where Mason has made five threes or less in four of their first nine games, being able to hit threes helped to keep Mason in the game.
The team has come a long way from going 2-8 from behind the arc in their season opener against the University of Pennsylvania.
- Good things happen when you limit turnovers
Mason struggled with controlling the ball early in the first half, turning the ball over six times in the first 12.5 minutes. However, the team committed just six turnovers in the remaining 27.5 minutes.
Head coach Dave Paulsen attributed this to a greater level of focus and said after the game, “I think the biggest change with our team is that we’ve gotten a better mindset for how you handle mistakes, adversity, … ‘pressure’ and ‘expectations’ and all those kinds of things.”
Paulsen mentioned after the game that one of their team goals was to turn the ball over 12 times or fewer. This is the second time the team has reached that goal, the first coming on Nov. 20 against North Carolina Central University.
- Balanced scoring attack is key
For just the second time this season, the Patriots had five players score in double figures. Livingston II had a team high 18 points. Justin Kier and Javon Greene gave 15 each, while Reuter added 11 points and Mar added a season-best 10.
Boyd and Greg Calixte also added eight points each and accounted for 16 of Mason’s 18 bench points.
Getting everyone involved in the scoring game, especially in the second half, was important for the team. The Patriots had five players score at least seven points in the second half, while only Livingston II scored at least seven points in the first half.
Mason returns home for their final two games before the team takes a break for exams. The Patriots will take on the University of Vermont on Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. and James Madison University on Dec. 7 at 7 p.m.