GMU's payback vs No. 10 St. Louis

GMU's payback vs No. 10 St. Louis
February 19, 2014, 1:30 pm
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George Mason Patriots guard Marquise Moore (22) controls the ball against Saint Louis Billikens guard Austin McBroom (2) during the first half at Chaifetz Arena.

(Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports)

Matchup: George Mason (9-16, 2-9 Atlantic 10) vs. No. 10 St. Louis (23-2, 10-0)

When: Wednesday, 7:00 p.m.

Where: Patriot Center

Broadcast: TV - NBCSN

Streaks: The Patriots lost Saturday to St. Bonaventure and have dropped 10 of 12. The Billikens have won 17 straight games dating back to Dec. 3.

History: In of their several near misses this conference season, the Patriots lost 87-81 in overtime at St. Louis on Feb. 1.

KenPom: George Mason 133, St. Louis 19

RPI: George Mason 150, St. Louis 11

Coaches: George Mason - Paul Hewitt; St. Louis Jim Crews

Leaders: Patriots - Scoring (Bryon Allen, 15.8), Rebounding (Jalen Jenkins, 6.1), Assists (Bryon Allen, 3.0); Billikens - Scoring (Dwayne Evans, 14.8), Rebounding (Evans, 6.5), Assists (Jordan Jair, 4.9)

When last we met: Allen scored a career-high 30 points, Patrick Holloway added 15 and the Patriots shot 51.5 percent from the field. GMU dominated the boards after halftime, led by seven points in the second half and 66-61 with 4:12 remaining. All of that and yet the Patriots couldn't seal the deal against the then No. 19 ranked Billikens. St. Louis offset issues elsewhere by sinking 23 of 25 free throws. GMU attempted only seven free throws, making six. In overtime, senior Rob Loe scored 10 of his career-high 23 points.

What about this time: The Patriots showed they learned some lessons when facing a notable foe as they won at Massachusetts 91-80 on Feb. 12. Allen has continued to show he's got the scoring touch as the senior from Largo had 26 on 10 of 13 shooting in the loss to the Bonnies. Over his last five games, Allen is averaging 21.6 points, 4.4 rebounds while shooting 55.7 percent from the field. Keeping center Erik Copes on the court will be key against the A-10 leading Billikens. Against UMass, the power-packed junior had 12 points and 15 rebounds in 31 minutes before fouling out. Versus Copes also fouled out versus St. Bonaventure, playing 13 minutes with zero points and two rebounds.

St. Louis: It had been a minute since the Billikens were previously a top 10 team. Specifically, Dec. 29, 1964. This version ranks ninth nationally in scoring defense (58.9 ppg) and fifth in 3-point defense, holding opponents to 28. 4 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Evans and Jett are all-conference performers and St. Louis has lots of experienced options on the senior-laded roster. St. Louis holds a 2 1/2 game lead over second place VCU and hosts George Washington on Saturday.