La Salle came out for the start of each half with the best of intentions Wednesday night against George Mason, but the Explorers couldn’t find a way to get the ball in the basket no matter how hard they tried.
The Explorers encountered long shooting struggles at the start of each half, falling well behind in the first and giving themselves no chance at a comeback in the second, and fell 75-42 to the Patriots in an Atlantic 10 Conference game at EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, Va.
La Salle (5-7, 2-3 A-10) made just two shots in 16 attempts in the opening 11 minutes of the game and trailed 20-7. Facing a 39-23 deficit at halftime, the Explorers came out with more fire at the defensive end but still couldn’t locate the basket, going just 3 of 20 in the first 10 ½ minutes and watching the gap expand to 25 at 55-30.
The visitors would close to 19, 61-42, on Clifton Moore’s basket with 6:03 left in the second half, but that proved to be the final points of what ended up to be their season-low total for a game. The Patriots (6-5, 2-3) scored the last 14 to make it a true runaway.
“We struggled to score the ball,” La Salle coach Ashley Howard said. “It’s a challenge without having that consistent person who you can depend on for scoring output. Some nights we can really get it going, and the other nights we can have a night like tonight. There’s no excuse. Whether we’re scoring or not, we’ve got to defend and rebound. I was disappointed with the lack of defending and rebounding.
Moore was one of four players — Jared Kimbrough, Christian Ray and Sherif Kenney were the others — to lead their team in scoring with seven points apiece. Ray pulled down a team-high eight rebounds, but the Explorers were beaten on the boards by 50-35.
The Explorers shot 21.1% in the second half. For the game, they made just 26.1% of their field-goal attempts with three three-point baskets on 22 shots. Jack Clark went 2 of 13 and Scott Spencer made one basket in 12 tries.
Sloppy play marked the night for both teams, with La Salle turning the ball over 18 times compared to 17 for the Patriots. But the Explorers managed to score just two points off their opponent’s turnovers while George Mason capitalized on La Salle errors to the tune of 21 points.
In women’s basketball:
La Salle 58, Drexel 55 – Three-point baskets by Kate Hall and Molly Masicantonio midway through the fourth quarter gave the Explorers the lead for good in a tight game, and the home team held on for the victory at Tom Gola Arena. Claire Jacobs led La Salle (5-6) with 17 points, including two free throws with 6 seconds left that provided the final margin. Keishana Washington led the Dragons (5-2) with 16 points.