I always find it harder to write recaps when the proverbial “hate index” is low on any given team, and it could not be any lower when it comes to George Mason. The Patriots are a team that is very hard to hate by someone who has followed a mid-major program his entire life. This was only the eighth meeting between the teams: 4 since GMU joined A10 play in 2013, and a previous 4-year home/home series that the schools struck after GMU made their Final Four run. UD’s thought at the time was that it would be the crown jewel of their non-conference scheduling, but in reality it turned into a horribly inconsequential series due to the under performing teams of that 4/5-year span.

If you REALLY wanted to find a reason to hate George Mason, you could poke fun at the “public university” thing, (being graduates of a private school, this is our right) you could cite jealousy of their Final Four run, (which isn’t that big of a deal anymore, obviously) you could shit on them for being a basketball-sized stain on the conference in their first three seasons. You COULD do all of this, but what would be the point?

The sad truth is that George Mason and UD couldn’t be more divergent as far as the direction of their respective programs are concerned. For as long as they share the A-10, they will play once a year, and it will probably continue to be less than memorable each time out. Tonight really wasn’t all that different in the grand scheme of things, as you can see by the crowd three minutes before game time. The older crowd tends to miss the intro on nights like this, they complain that it’s scary with the lights off.

The first twenty minutes was one of the stranger first halves we’ve seen from the Flyers this year, mainly due to the rotation and shot selection. In the opening twelve minutes of the game, Archie used the full complement of nine men in varying combinations. My guess is that he was trying out some new lineups on the floor to see what he liked, which you really can’t fault given that everyone is finally healthy. It was also a nice change of pace to see none of these combinations experience a drop off in production, as UD held the lead almost the entire first half, save for a few seconds here and there.

At the end of the half, eight Flyers had scored, none in double digits. Spreading the wealth is never a bad thing this time of year. With that said, the Flyers took a rather uncharacteristic amount of threes early in the shot clock, finishing the half shooting 35% (6-17) from behind the arc. Can’t say I prefer the Flyers shooting 17 threes in any half honestly, but it wasn’t a big deal tonight, I digress.

A trend started midway through the first half that would carry through the next twenty minutes of the game. It went like this: UD would go up 10, GMU would close it to one possession. Then UD would go on a run, and get punched right back by Mason, and so on and so forth. All in all, the first half was a pretty complete effort by the “True Team” and the good guys went into the locker room up 38-31.

About 2 minutes into the second half, with UD clinging to a six-point lead, the gentlemen calling the game said something to the effect of, “Boy, it feels like Dayton should be up by more,” and they weren’t wrong. You got the feeling that UD was controlling the game without taking over the game. That is, until the 13:40 mark.

After GMU cut the UD lead to one at 48-47, the Flyers went on a 20-0 run that lasted seven minutes and was undeniably led by JOHN FUCKING CROSBY, MAN! John pulled down four boards and scored nine points in eight transcendent minutes, and by the time he sat down with six minutes on the clock, the irreparable damage was done.

If seasons were defined on eight minute stretches against the fifth-best team in the conference in the third week of February, you could give Johnny C First Team All-Conference right now. If I told you John scored double digits in one other game this year, would you believe me? Bullshit aside the guy played a very productive twelve minutes tonight that will be necessary on nights when my boy DURRELL is ice cold.

The last six minutes were ho-hum at best. The Flyers saw their twenty-point lead dwindle down to just nine but were never realistically threatened at any point. They made just enough free throws to send the Sweaters heading for the exits at the 2:30 mark, and another empty W was put on the old score sheet. Flyers 83, Patriots 70.

While we don’t know much about Trey Landers, basketball player, we do know he’s in the gym late night making videos after games:

I have 5 takes for you today:

Ryan Mikesell played like a dude who just lost his job, and that’s good.

Chip came in the game, and his first two minutes looked like this: missed three early in the shot clock, roasted on defense (bad foul), made three early in the shot clock, great offensive board and an easy put back. I felt like every time I saw Chip in the game, he was either hustling his ass off or working to get the ball directly to the rim. I love that shit. That’s what makes bench players so dangerous, and moving forward Ryan Mikesell and Kyle Davis should be the MOST effective bench players. They can and should be able to alter a game on any given night. Speaking of…

Kyle Davis is the best defensive player I have ever seen in a UD uniform and it might be another 10 years before we get a guy like him.

Enjoy the last month.

DURRELL WATCH

Durrell had a rough go of it tonight, guys. He went 0-5 from downtown and scored just one point in twenty-five minutes. LUCKILY HIS BROKE ASS HAD JOHN CROSBY TO CARRY THE LOAD, AM I RIGHT?!!

Don’t take Scoochie for granted.

While John had a great night, Scoochie still plopped in sixteen points on 5-of-8 shooting and 2-for-4 from downtown to go along with three dimes and three steals. He is the player of the game almost every time out now. When we inevitably have a big ass game on the line in the coming weeks, we can all take solace in the fact that the ball will be in his hands.

We are finally seeing the full complement of Josh, X-Man and KP, and it is good and cool.

UD is seriously fucking with the idea of having a strong three-man front court. I’m so giddy I could almost pee. This is one solid cram..>>

There was some other dope stuff that came along with this win. While you should be all jazzed up about 100 wins for the seniors and all, the task at hand just took one more crucial step forward. UD has secured a vital double-bye in the A10 tournament (meaning they don’t have to play until the quarterfinals) and as long as they don’t lose every game remaining on the schedule, have also locked up a top two seed. Make no mistake about it, UD is still firmly in the tournament, but can 100% still play their way out of it.

(Note: remember in 2006 when George Washington was 27-1? Oh, you don’t? OK, well GW went 16-0 in A10 play in a conference that was having a down year. Sound familiar? On March 1st, at regular season’s end, they were AP #6. They were upset in the quarterfinals by Temple and received a goddamn EIGHT seed by the tournament committee.)

Point is: there are still ample opportunities for bed-shitting that could result with UD in a bad spot. While it’s not likely, UD checked all the boxes Tuesday evening that are a prerequisite in the “take care of your business” category. By the time you read this part of the recap, you should have already forgotten about this game. The rich whiteys down at Davidson will greet us on Friday evening. MARCH FIRST AWAITS. Always room for the takes below, stay LOWD.