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Davidson at George Mason
When and Where: Wednesday, Jan. 9, EagleBank Arena, Fairfax, Va., 7 p.m. EST.
George Mason seeks its first 3-0 conference start since joining the Atlantic 10 in 2013 on Wednesday night when it hosts Davidson.
Wildcats trying to build on win over Duquesne
Davidson (10-4, 1-0 A-10), the defending Atlantic 10 tournament winner, may need to go that route again for a second straight trip to the NCAA Tournament.
The Wildcats’ best win in non-conference play came against a rebuilding Wichita State squad, which does not offset lopsided losses to ranked Purdue and North Carolina teams as well as close defeats to Temple and Wake Forest.
Bob McKillop’s team opened Atlantic 10 play on a positive note, though, defeating Duquesne 65-61 on Saturday. Kellan Grady scored 17 points in his return after missing four games with a knee injury, and KiShawn Pritchett scored the go-ahead basket with 1:45 to play as Davidson held the Dukes scoreless for the final 2:09.
First A-10 win ✔️
— Davidson Basketball (@DavidsonMBB) January 6, 2019
“To have a really grind-it-out, tough win like this is a really great jumpstart to our league,” Grady told the school’s official website after Davidson improved to 9-1 in games he has played. The sophomore is averaging a team-high 19.2 points and shooting 49.7 percent.
Grady is getting backcourt scoring help from Jon Axel Gudmundsson, who is contributing 17.4 points and 4.6 assists per game. The duo rank third and sixth, respectively, in scoring in the A-10. Luka Brajkovic (12.1 ppg) and Luke Frampton (10.1) are also in double figures for the Wildcats, who are averaging 9.6 3-pointers but shooting 33.8 percent from beyond the arc.
After a three-game stretch in which it made 39 of 84 (46.4 percent) from deep, Davidson has cooled off to 29.0 percent (36 for 124) in its last four contests.
Surging Patriots seek fifth win in six games
Win or lose, this will be the first time George Mason (8-7, 2-0) will have a winning record after three Atlantic 10 games since making the jump from the Colonial Athletic Association.
The Patriots have shaken off a 2-5 start with six wins in their last eight games, with the losses coming to Vermont and at Kansas State by a combined six points. Dave Paulsen’s team bounced back from that loss in the “Little Apple” by defeating Saint Joseph’s and St. Bonaventure by double digits to open league play.
— Mason Athletics (@MasonAthletics) January 8, 2019
Justin Kier had 15 points and 14 rebounds as George Mason turned the screws on St. Bonaventure in its 68-53 win Sunday. The Patriots let Kyle Lofton and Courtney Stockard get their points as they totaled 33 on 14 of 26 shooting, but the rest of the Bonnies were a combined 9 for 33.
“In a lot of ways, this is a more gratifying win than our one Thursday night versus Saint Joe’s,” Paulsen told Mason’s official website. “We were out of sync to begin the game but our guys showed a lot of grit, toughness and defended. That’s what we’ve been preaching and we’ve made great strides in that area.”
After a five-game stretch in which George Mason gave up 71 or more points in every game, it has yielded just 57.6 per game on 36.2 percent shooting in its last five contests.
Kier, who has recorded all four of his double-doubles this season in the last five games, is averaging team highs of 14.0 points and 6.1 rebounds. He has totaled 33 points and 28 rebounds in the first two conference contests.
Otis Livingston II is contributing 13.9 points per contest. Jaire Grayer, who is averaging 10.0 points and was shooting 40.5 percent from 3-point range, is expected to miss his ninth straight game with a foot injury.
George Mason is:
- 5-15-1 ATS in its last 21 games vs. above-.600 teams.
- 4-16-1 ATS in its last 21 games vs. above-.500 teams.
- The under is 5-2 in its last seven games as a home favorite between 0.5-6.5 points.
- The under is 6-1 in its last seven games following an ATS win.
- The under is 4-0 in its last four games vs. above-.600 teams.
- 7-3 ATS in its last 10 games following an ATS loss.
- 4-1 ATS in its last five games vs. Atlantic 10 opponents.
- The under is 20-8-1 in its last 29 games after an ATS loss.
- The under is 19-9 in its last 28 games as a road underdog.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Wildcats are a much better team when Grady, who is one of the best mid-major players in the country, is on the court. He could have very easily turned the losses to Temple and Wake into wins, and we’d be talking about a 12-2 Davidson team trying to get national attention.
Davidson got six first-place votes in the preseason coaches’ poll, and McKillop is still highly regarded in coaching circles. George Mason has been playing better of late, but Grady is the swing vote here in picking the Wildcats.
Prediction: Pick: Davidson -1
Full-Game Total Pick
Davidson will be content to turn this into a half-court contest and let Grady break down George Mason for late shot-clock starts. The Wildcats’ struggles on the perimeter coupled with an improved Patriots defense of late offers confidence in the under hitting.
Prediction: Pick: UNDER 139 points
Half-Time Side Pick
The Wildcats trailed at intermission in their last three road and neutral site games, but they were also without their top scorer. George Mason has led at halftime in six of its last nine home games, but Grady and Gudmundsson combined for 39 points in last season’s win in Fairfax for Davidson, and the belief is the two will get the Wildcats a lead after 20 minutes.
Prediction: Pick: Davidson -0.5
Half-Time Total Bet
Since Davidson is capable of playing either slow or fast, the hedge here is this will be more of a half-court game. George Mason has totaled 61 or fewer points in the first half of five of its last six games and the one game that cleared that mark was 68.
Davidson rolled to a 27-point win at George Mason last season but the two games before that featured first-half totals of 53 and 60.
Prediction: Pick: UNDER 65 points