Fourth Estate/Mitchell Richtmyre

The Patriots’ late comeback fell short at the A-10 Tournament


Mason men’s basketball lost to Saint Joseph’s 64-57 in the second round of the Atlantic 10 Tournament in Brooklyn, N.Y. on Wednesday. The Hawks (20-12, 9-9 Atlantic 10) began the game on an 11-2 run which proved too much for the Patriots (20-12, 9-9 Atlantic 10) to overcome.

Ninth-seeded Saint Joseph’s extended their lead to 18 in the second half. Mason closed the gap to three with 1:25 remaining, but a costly turnover halted the comeback. The Patriots were led by a career-high 22 points from freshman Baraka Okojie, who earned a spot on the A-10 All-Rookie Team.

“They got going pretty early, and we got down pretty early,” Head Coach Tony Skinn said. “Total team effort by [Saint Joseph’s]. I give them credit.” Four Hawks scored in double figures, including a team-high 16 points from Cameron Brown.

Mason shot 1-13 from 3-point range, while Saint Joseph’s shot 10-27 from deep. “It’s hard to win a basketball game when the other team is making shots and you’re not,” Skinn said. The Patriots ended their season with 218 3-pointers made, ranking 13th in the A-10.

Senior Darius Maddox, Mason’s leading 3-point shooter, went 1-2 on 3-pointers in the game. His two attempts tied a season-low in attempts for Maddox. “I thought the defense, for 40 minutes, [and] the intentionality on Maddox was as good as we’ve done on an individually-scouted player all season long,” Saint Joseph’s Head Coach Billy Lange said.

Sophomore Keyshawn Hall was limited to four minutes in his return from an ankle injury. Hall last played on Feb. 27 against Fordham. “Tonight, when he was in, he didn’t do anything wrong, but just from a rhythm standpoint, it just wasn’t there,” Skinn said.

Despite the offensive struggles, Okojie’s performance kept the Patriots in the game. Okojie scored 16 points and shot 7-10 from the field in the second half, including eight consecutive points to cut Mason’s deficit to three. “I told myself I was going to give it all for the last 20 [minutes],” Okojie said. 

With the loss, Mason failed to qualify for the A-10 semifinals for the 11th consecutive season. 

In their first year under Skinn, the Patriots recorded 20 regular season wins for the first time since the 2011-12 campaign. “Overall, I’m proud of these guys and I just look forward to what we have to do to just get better as a team and as a program,” Skinn said.

Saint Joseph’s advanced to play top-seeded Richmond in the quarterfinals on Thursday, Mar. 14.