BY NATALIE HEAVREN SPORTS EDITOR
Men’s basketball found itself back in the win column Friday night after defeating former Colonial Athletic Association foe James Madison University 66-53.
“That was a great effort by our guys, that’s exactly what we’ve been looking for, that’s exactly what we know they’re capable of,” said head coach Dave Paulsen after the game.
Here are three takeaways from Mason’s win.
- Justin Kier can do it all.
Junior Justin Kier was all over the floor against James Madison, something the Dukes’ head coach Louis Rowe mentioned during his post-game press conference.
“[Kier]’s been playing great,” Rowe said. “I gave him a hug after the game and I told him, ‘Really good game, keep it up.’ He’s driving it, he’s shooting it, he’s a leader. When they need a play, he’s actually the one making the play.”
He was 6-13 from the floor and 4-6 from the free throw line while scoring 16 points, second behind only Otis Livingston II. Kier put up a career-high 11 rebounds for his second career double-double. He also added a career-high six steals, personal best two blocks, four assists and played a season-high 38 minutes.
- Free Throws (can help you) win games.
The first and second halves were a tale of free throw shooting percentages for both teams. In the first half, Mason was 3-6 (50 percent) and James Madison was 5-6 (83 percent). Both teams got to the line more often in the second half, with Mason shooting 14-18 (78 percent) and James Madison making just four of their 12 free throw attempts (33 percent).
Four of Mason’s second-half free throws came from technical fouls called on head coach Louis Rowe and James Madison’s Matt Lewis, which Livingston made.
- Three-point shooting helps, but isn’t required.
Despite James Madison shooting 5-7 from behind the arc, Mason held onto a three-point lead at halftime.
Mason did not make a three-pointer between the 16:04 mark in the first half and the 8:33 mark in the second half, 27.5 minutes of play. The Patriots shot just 18.8 percent from behind the arc.
James Madison cooled off from behind the arc in the second half, shooting just 3-14, two of which came from Stuckey Mosely.
Mason finishes their homestand against Navy on Dec. 21 at 7 p.m.