The University of Georgia’s Men’s Basketball team was defeated by George Mason University 80-67 on Saturday night in Stegeman Coliseum.
D’Shawn Schwartz and Josh Oduro both recorded exceptional performances for the Patriots. Schwartz led the team in scoring with 21 points on 5-10 3-Point shooting while Oduro added 20 points to go with 11 rebounds and 6 blocked shots. The Dawgs were led offensively by Braelen Bridges who notched 13 points on 3-4 shooting while converting 7 of his 9 free-throw attempts.
Saturday night’s contest was the team’s first since losing starting forward Jaylin Ingram to a torn ACL in their last outing. The absence of the veteran leader was felt both on the floor and in the media room during the post-game press conference as both players and coach Tom Crean spoke on the impact of the loss on the program. During his interview, Noah Baumann alluded to the circumstances imposed on the team by the injury, commenting that the team needs to “know how to win without Jaylin,” adding that replacing his contributions will be a collaborative effort in saying that “We’ve just got to figure out how we all can just slightly impact what Jailyn had for us.”
A 3-Pointer from Davonte Gaines on George Mason’s initial possession put the Patriots on the board first, and the team maintained its lead for the entirety of the game. An early 14-0 Patriot scoring run would expand the margin to 15 at a score of 19-4 with 13:57 to go in the half. An ensuing 8-0 UGA run with excellent low post scores from Braelen Bridges and a 3-Pointer from Jabri Abdur-Rahim would trim the lead to 7 before a personal 9-0 run from D’Shawn Schwartz, who hit sunk of his five 3-Pointers in that stretch, would put the Patriots back up by 16 with 8:48 remaining in the half. The lead remained in double digits until contested 3-Pointers on back-to-back possessions from Noah Baumann cut the lead to just 6 points at a score of 34-28 with 1:45 to play in the first half. The Bulldog deficit would increase to 8 entering the halftime intermission at a score of 38-30.
The second half began in a similar fashion to the first, as a 3-Pointer from DeVon Cooper on the first George Mason possession of the half increased the Patriot lead to 11. The two teams would trade baskets for the first 10 minutes of the second half as the margin toggled between 8 and 14 points. A 6-1 UGA scoring run with a tough finish from Kario Oquendo and free throws from Jaxon Etter and Christian Wright would engage the onlooking Georgia fans and trim the George Mason lead to just 6 points at a score of 67-61 with 4:31 left to play in the game. D’Shawn Schwartz would silence the crowd with a corner 3-Pointer on the following possession while an ensuing DeVon Cooper 3-Pointer on the following possession just 19 seconds later would give the Patriots a comfortable 12-point lead with 3:56 remaining. The Dawgs would end the game without a made field goal over the last 6:30 of action as George Mason secured the 80-67 victory.
The loss on Saturday brings the Bulldogs to 4-6 on the year as the team prepares to face Western Carolina at home on Monday night.