BY DOMENIC ALLEGRA SPORTS EDITOR
On Wednesday, Mason defeated Fordham in a blowout, 77-45, earning the Patriots their second largest victory in an Atlantic 10 contest.
“I think this gives us a lot of confidence. We needed this as a team because we’ve been struggling a little bit lately,” junior Jordan Miller said in the post-game press conference. “Fordham’s a great team and all but at our spot in this league, we’re looking to beat these powerhouses up on top. And … for where we want to be, we’re going to have to have these performances against the teams higher up in the league and I think that’s what our eyes are set upon.”
After keeping up with the Patriots in the first half, the Rams dropped off in the second half, scoring only 20 points compared to Mason’s 44.
Here are three takeaways from the game:
COMPETING AGAINST THE POWERHOUSES
Miller’s quote above encapsulates the true goal of each season. This season especially, the Patriots continue that struggle of competing with the “top dogs.”
“I think at this point, it’s more or less us stopping with the silly, stupid turnovers on our end, getting stops defensively,” Miller said. “I think tonight was a good start for us having the lead and building upon the lead, versus having the lead and kind of fall[ing] and not getting the stops. I think, all in all, if we become a better defensive team, especially down the stretch when it matters the most, I think we’re up there with the big dogs.”
The Patriots will have to overcome their offensive and defensive struggles if they don’t want to end their season with an early exit in the play-in game in March.
THE RAMS’ DISAPPEARANCE
In the first half, the Rams were neck and neck with the Patriots, even trading baskets at some points.
The first-half score ended at 33-25 in favor of Mason.
In the second half, the Rams fell off a cliff. By the 10-minute mark, the Patriots had scored 21 points. Fordham, on the other hand, had scored a total of five.
“We definitely feel like we’re in a rare position coming off [winning] this way,” junior guard Jamal Hartwell said in the press conference. “Especially since we’re looking forward to making a run in the last couple of games of conference [play] and then making a run in the tournament as well.”
PLAYING TIME FOR EVERYONE
Every player on the team roster had playing time in this one. Some players saw their first appearance in the green and gold.
Miller talked about what it meant for his teammates to get out on the court. “You know, people don’t always notice because they don’t see what happens behind closed doors on the practice court, but all those guys — when they’re putting in the work to give them extra shots — they’re the ones we’re going up against in practice,” he said. “It kind of brings happiness to the heart almost. [It was great to] see them get in the game and I’m just proud of everybody collectively.”
The Patriots are set to take on Duquesne next Wednesday, contingent on the Dukes getting out of their COVID-19 pause. If that game is postponed, the Patriots will take on VCU on the road on Feb. 20.