[PREVIEW] George Mason vs. Rhode Island -- Men's Basketball

Mason returns home to the Patriot Center to host Rhode Island (photo by John Irwin).
Mason returns home to the Patriot Center to host Rhode Island (photo by John Irwin).

The Mason men’s basketball team returns home to the Patriot Center today to host Atlantic 10 conference member Rhode Island at 4 p.m. in a non-conference matchup, the third in a three-year series started before Mason joined the A-10.

Rhode Island at a glance

Mason holds the series at 2-0, with the last meeting between these two teams resulting in a 55-52 win for the Patriots.

URI (6-2) is on a three-game winning streak heading into this matchup, with most recent victories over McNeese State, UNC Asheville and UMass Lowell.

The Rams have dropped both of their games on the road this season, with losses to Southern Methodist and No. 4 Arizona. Mason (4-2) is on a two-game losing streak heading into this matchup, with most recent losses to Iona and Princeton on the road. 

URI returns senior guard Xavier Munford as the key piece to this Rams team, as well as welcoming three key transfers and a strong freshman class. URI is without 6’10” forward Jordan Hare, a top shot-blocker who has taken an indefinite leave of absence, after averaging 5.2 points and 4.0 rebounds while starting 19 games as a freshman last season.

Returning players

2012 – 2013 Statistics

Xavier Munford – Guard – 6’2” – 17.4 PPG – 2.8 RPG – 1.9 APG

Senior guard Xavier Munford leads his team in scoring this season with 15.1 points per game, and has scored in double-figures in seven of eight games. As the A-10’s top returning scorer from last season, Munford received Preseason All Conference honors. In his first season at URI, Munford was held in single-digits only four times, and finished third in the conference with 17.4 points per game.

Incoming transfer threats

2011 – 2012 Statistics

Gilvydas Biruta – Forward – 6’8” – 9.7 PPG – 5.3 RPG – 1.4 APG

Biggie Minnis – Guard – 6’3” – 3.1 PPG – 2.3 RPG – 1.4 APG

Jarelle Reischel – Forward – 6’6” – 5.7 PPG – 2.7 RPG – 0.6 APG

Junior forward Gilvydas Biruta leads his team in rebounding this season, with 5.8 per game. Biruta sat out last season after transferring from Rutgers, where he averaged 9.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, and is a solid inside-presence for the Rams.

Sophomore guard Biggie Minnis leads his team in assists this season, with 2.8 per game. Minnis is a transfer from Texas Tech, where he started five games as a freshman.

Sophomore forward Jarelle Reischel is averaging 9.1 points and 3.8 rebounds per game this season. Reischel is a transfer from Rice University, where he averaged 5.7 points and 2.7 rebounds per game.

Freshman to watch 

2013 – 2014 Statistics

E.C. Mathews – Guard – 6’5” – 11.0 PPG – 3.8 RPG – 2.5 APG

Freshman shooting guard E.C. Mathews, a top-100 recruit, is averaging 11.0 points and 3.8 rebounds per game this season and is excellent at attacking the basket. 

How Mason stacks up  

This could be a very close game for the Patriots, who will need to get their offense going early in the game and control the ball better from tip-off.

The Patriots will see the return of Erik Copes for the first time this season, which should help to improve the team’s frontcourt defense. Copes averaged 5.9 points and 6.0 rebounds per game last season. 


No votes yet
Student Media Group: