[PREVIEW] Mason opens conference play at home vs. Northeastern

After ending their non-conference schedule with a 61-57 loss to the University of South Florida, George Mason returns home to the Patriot Center on Thursday to host Northeastern at 7 p.m. in their first Colonial Athletic Association matchup, which will kick off the beginning of their 18-game conference schedule. 

Mason (7-5) is considered the CAA favorite going into conference play, with 6’4” guard Sherrod Wright leading his team with an average 17.3 points per game.

Wright led the Patriots in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks, in their last non-conference game loss to USF (8-3). Wright is the only player on the Patriots roster that seems to be contributing offensively lately, and so a win in this first conference play matchup on Thursday will rely heavily on his shoulders. Wright continues to impress the league, shooting an impressive 54% overall and 45% from deep.

Power forward Erik Copes is currently leading the team with 5.4 rebounds per game, and at 6’8” provides a solid inside presence that will give the Patriots the edge defensively against the Huskies.

Northeastern (5-7) is coming off of a 83-63 non-conference loss to UAB, and despite starting their season 4-1, the Huskies have lost 6 of their last 7 games. 6’4” guard Joel Smith leads his team with an average 16.7 points per game. In their last non-conference game loss to UAB (7-6), 6’8” guard/forward Quincy Ford had 14 points and 10 rebounds, along with 6’7” forward Reggie Spencer who contributed 13 points.

George Mason has a talented young team this year and the key to their success in CAA conference play this season will come from their contributions, surrounding Wright’s scoring load. Anali Okoloji provides the Patriots with intensity all over the floor with his Brooklyn-style of play. Patrick Holloway is Mason’s three-point threat and Bryon Allen is balanced and can penetrate and open things up for the offense. 

The game will be broadcast nationally on NBC Sportsnet and on the radio on 106.7 The Fan in the DC metro area.