Houston (20-12) at George Mason (19-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, March 25, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Patriot Center (9,253) -- Fairfax, Virginia. Television: AXStv. CBI Tournament Record: Houston 3-2, George Mason 1-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Houston Cougars and George Mason Patriots will both look to extend their seasons as they square off at the Patriot Center in the College Basketball Invitational quarterfinals.
This will be the first-ever meeting in history between these schools on the hardwood. The CBI is re-bracketed after the quarterfinal round.
The Cougars defeated Texas, 73-72, on Wednesday night at home to earn a berth in this round. Freshman forward Danuel House hit the eventual game-winning jumper with only 17 seconds left and the Cougars made a defensive stand to notch the program's first victory over the Longhorns since 1998. The decision was the fifth in the team's last six outings and made it the 21st team in school history to reach 20 wins.
Both Joseph Young and TaShawn Thomas showed why they earned All-Conference USA accolades versus the Longhorns. Young led Houston against Texas with 18 points after he drilled four 3-pointers, while Thomas posted his 15th double-double of the season with 15 points and 10 boards. Young (17.9 ppg) and Thomas (16.8 ppg, 9.5 rpg) are both among the C-USA's leading scorers and House was named the league's Freshman of the Year after averaging 12.4 points and 5.0 rebounds per tilt, putting his name in the Houston freshman single-season record book in multiple categories.
GMU is just one win shy of its 20th win as it finished in a tie for fifth in the Colonial Athletic Association regular-season standings. The Patriots downed the College of Charleston by one-point in the CBI first round to move into the quarterfinals. Sherrod Wright paced the team with 20 points on 6- of-11 shooting from the floor and Erik Copes converted a put-back with a second left to finish with 14 points.
Wright leads the Patriots on the season with 16.6 ppg, but he is the only player on the squad averaging double figures in the scoring column. GMU has put up modest numbers on average, at only 66.8 ppg on 43.7 percent shooting from the floor. Wright has been on fire lately with four consecutive double- digit outings, including three 20-plus performances. Jonathan Arledge (8.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg) is the closest thing the Patriots have to a second option, while Bryon Allen (7.9 ppg, 3.5 apg) is a decent complement to Wright in the backcourt.
Houston is an explosive offensive squad at times, but has struggled with consistency. The Cougars have played well recently and could pull out a win on the road if they manage to keep Wright in check. The Patriots are going to use a tough defensive effort to try to advance.
Sports Network PRedicted Outcome: Houston 72, George Mason 66
03/25 10:30:49 ET