Hawks win high-scoring affair at George Mason

Saint Joseph's traveled to George Mason on Saturday short-handed. Senior forward Ron Roberts didn't even make the trip with the team, and sophomore forward Isaiah Miles traveled but would not be available. Those injuries propelled junior Papa Ndao into the starting lineup. Ndao ended up as one of four Hawks in double digits in a significant 84-80 win at The Patriot Center.

Papa Ndao turned in a career-high 13 points, including three triples and a big baseline jam that helped set a tone early for the Hawks. Phil Martelli's five starters combined for 82 of the Hawks' 84 points, led by senior Halil Kanacevic's 21 points on 9-15 shooting.

Senior shooting guard Langston Galloway scored 20 on 4-9 shooting from the field, and 9-11 shooting from the charity stripe. Saint Joseph's other double-digit scorer was freshman wing DeAndre Bembry, who continues his tremendously poised play. Bembry had 17 points and 5 boards for the Hawks.

Both the Hawks and Patriots shot the ball at a blistering rate. St. Joe's shot 59% for the game, including 44% from three. GMU hit on 49% of their field goal attempts, including 11-23 threes (48%). While the Hawks shot the lights out from the field, turnovers (15) and GMU's hot perimeter shooting made it a battle down to the wire.

George Mason got a sensational 20-point, 7-rebound, 5-steal performance from freshman power forward Jalen Jenkins, who has the look of a future star in the Atlantic 10. Senior guard Byron Allen also had 20 for the Patriots, who dropped to 7-9 with the loss.

It was a gritty win for the Hawks, on the road and without their all-league power forward. St. Joe's jumped out to an early lead before Mason closed the half on a run, entering the locker room up 45-40.

St. Joe's has struggled at times this year out of the half, but Saturday saw a change of fortune. The Hawks opened the second half on an 13-2 run, and took a 53-47 lead at the 16:26 mark of the second half. However, this one was a game of runs, and Mason wasn't yet done.

A Jalen Jenkins jumper gave GMU a 66-63 lead with just over 7 minutes to play, and the Hawks appeared to be on the ropes. The Hawks showed great fight though, getting a Ndao three, two free throws from Galloway, and a Chris Wilson running lay-in off a pretty feed from Kanacevic to reclaim a 72-67 lead.

A George Mason at the final buzzer closed to margin of victory to 4, with the Hawks notching an 84-80 victory on the road for their first A10 win. The win was Saint Joseph's tenth on the year, improving their record to 10-5 overall and 1-1 in league play.

Saint Joseph's returns home to Hagan Arena for a Wednesday night game against Duquesne. Duquesne is 8-5 (1-0) overall, with a game Sunday afternoon against La Salle.

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