The Hawks would turn to Papa Ndao to fill in for the injured big men, and the junior from Senegal would do an admirable job, starting off the scoring in the game with a shot from beyond the arc to give Saint Joseph's a 3-0 lead.
Saint Joseph's would grab some early momentum, jumping to a 14-5 lead with just more than 16 minutes remaining, but the Patriots would respond, taking their first lead of the game at 26-25 midway through the first half. George Mason would hold the Hawks to just one point over the final 3:12 of the half during an 8-1 run, taking a 45-40 lead at the half.
Langston Galloway led the Hawks with 10 points in the half, while fellow starters Halil Kanacevic and DeAndre' Bembry each added 9. While Saint Joseph's shot 60.9 percent in the half, they were plagued by turnovers, coughing the ball up 10 times in the half.
The Patriots were led by Jalen Jenkins, who scored 9 points in the half. Byron Allen scored 8, and Corey Edwards added 8 off the bench, as George Mason made 7 of 14 shots from beyond the arc in the half.
Emerging from the locker room ready to go, the Hawks would start the second half on a 13-2 run to take a 53-47 lead 3:34 into the half. The Patriots would battle back however, regaining the lead at 64-63 with 8:40 remaining. The Hawks would respond with a 17-6 run to build an 80-70 lead with 45 second remaining, as they went on to win 84-80.
With fellow big man Ronald Roberts sidelined, forward Halil Kanacevic stepped up in a big way, scoring 23 points to lead all scorers in the game. Langston Galloway and DeAndre' Bembry added 20 and 17 points respectively, but perhaps the most important contribution the Hawks received came from an unlikely source, Papa Ndao.
Forced into the starting lineup due to injuries, Ndao had a fantastic outing, scoring 13 points on 4 for 4 shooting, including three shots from beyond the arc. With a bench that has done little all season, it was a nice surprise for Saint Joseph's to have Ndao step up in the absence of key players.
George Mason was led in the loss by Byron Allen and Jalen Jenkins, who each scored 20, but it would not be enough to top the undermanned Hawks.
After a sloppy first half, the Hawks tightened things up a bit in the second act, cutting their turnovers in half, while continuing to make shots at a high clip, shooting 59.2 percent for the game.
The win puts Saint Joseph's record at 10-5, and is the Hawks' sixth win in their past seven games. The Hawks will return to action on Wednesday, as they welcome Duquesne to Hagan Arena.
By: Kyle Babcock
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