George Mason Patriots vs. Dayton Flyers Pick & Prediction FEBRUARY 21st 2024

The way DaRon Holmes II figures it, just putting on the uniform carries a certain responsibility.

“We’re going to get everybody’s best shot,” Holmes said. “Just with wearing ‘Dayton’ across our chest, everybody is going to be coming at us.”

But with Holmes standing in the way, the No. 16 Flyers have been able to absorb those shots and come away with wins. That is how it happened Saturday when they held off Fordham 78-70 to keep them in a tie for the Atlantic 10 Conference lead with Loyola Chicago.

With Loyola receiving a mid-week league bye, Dayton tries to claim first place in the conference for itself when it visits George Mason on Wednesday in Fairfax, Va.

The Flyers (21-4, 11-2 Atlantic 10) don’t have a bad loss on their resume. They fell to Houston, a likely No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament next month, and also lost to Northwestern, which is probably headed for the NCAA Tournament, too. Their league losses are at Richmond and VCU, who shape up as potential bid-stealers at next month’s A10 tourney.

Dayton isn’t flashy but instead efficient on both ends of the floor. Per kenpom.com metrics, the team’s adjusted offensive efficiency ranks 20th in Division I and the defense ranked 55th in advance of Tuesday’s Division I games.

Holmes averages 20.0 points and 8.0 rebounds per game on 55.4 percent shooting from the field. In the victory over Fordham, he exploded for 29 points and 10 rebounds, sinking 10 of 13 field goal attempts.

It was his eighth double-double of the season.

“We’re going to face some kind of adversity every game,” Holmes said. “In this, adversity came in the second half and we had to find ways to pull out the win.”

George Mason (17-8, 6-6) is coming off a 90-67 home rout of George Washington on Feb. 13 behind a 20-point, 12-rebound performance from Keyshawn Hall. He’s been the Patriots’ main weapon this season, leading the team in scoring (17.8) and rebounding (8.7).

Hall leads the league with nine double-doubles and has scored at least 20 points in each of his last four games.

“This was a much-needed win on our home floor to get our swag back,” first-year coach Tony Skinn said. “Different guys stepped up to the plate. We came out with the first punch tonight.”

The most impressive part of the win for George Mason was that it was accomplished without second-leading scorer Darius Maddox, who was out with an injury. It’s not known if Maddox, who is averaging 13.8 points and hitting 41.1 percent of his 3-pointers, will be back for Wednesday’s game.

Amari Kelly stepped up without Maddox, scoring 16 points and adding seven rebounds.

Oklahoma State transfer Woody Newton tied his career high with 13 points for the Patriots, who led 54-27 at halftime and cruised from there.

This will be the only regular-season meeting between the teams.

–Field Level Media

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