In a game that was played as slowly as a chess match, George Mason defeated Coppin State, 68-45, in a nonconference men's basketball game tonight before 917 at Coppin Center.
Neither team seemed interested in challenging the other to a full-court contest, so the teams were content to try to outperform the other with a half-court offense.
Coppin State (0-5) established the pace by walking the ball up the court on nearly every possession. George Mason (2-3) was a little quicker crossing the mid-court line, but showed enormous patience before taking a shot. The game had three fast-break baskets.
Although both teams began the game in a zone defense, only Coppin State stayed with it. George Mason went to a man-to-man after Coppin State opened the game with two three-point baskets.
The Patriots were so tempted by the Eagles' zone defense that nearly half the shots they took in the first half were from behind the three-point arc. George Mason went 10 of 18 from three-point range overall. Mark Davis led the Patriots from the perimeter, making 5 of 7 three-pointers and finishing with 17 points.
After falling behind 12-3, George Mason slowly built a 26-18 lead. The Patriots, however, made only one basket the final 4 minutes 36 seconds of the half, which allowed Coppin State to cut the lead to 28-26.
George Mason put the game away during a 15-2 second-half scoring spree, scoring on seven straight possessions to take a 47-28 lead. Freshman forward Jai Lewis accounted for seven points during that run. Lewis finished with 11 points on 5-of-5 shooting. He also had five rebounds.
"Jai was very effective inside," George Mason Coach Jim Larranaga said. "With his bulk, he's a hard guy to get around."
George Mason's defensive pressure began to wear down Coppin State in the second half. The Eagles turned over the ball on eight straight possessions and did not make a field goal the first 8:15 of the second half. Coppin State finished with 21 turnovers.
"Later on, we tried to press the ball more, get the game going at a faster pace," said point guard Raoul Heinen, who led the Patriots with 18 points. "That's what we accomplished in the end -- all five guys pressuring the ball, trying to double team."
A scary moment for the Patriots came less than two minutes into the second half when Heinen twisted his knee going after a loose ball. He was limping as he went to the sideline and remained on the bench for the next four minutes. With Heinen out, Jon Larranaga moved to point guard.
* JOHNS HOPKINS 66, NAVY 61: Jay Kreider, Brendan Kamm and Kevin Marquez made back-to-back free throws in the final 33 seconds to lead the Blue Jays in Annapolis. Johns Hopkins (5-1) had not played a Division I team since 1984. Navy (2-4) and Hopkins had not played since 1977. The loss was Navy's fourth in a row. Jason Jeanpierre led Navy with 17 points.