Two new-look teams meet in the opening round of the Crossover Classic on Monday in Sioux Falls, S.D.
In coach Mike Hopkins’ fifth year, Washington (2-2) comes with an overhauled roster, while George Mason (4-1) has a new coach, Kim English, who already has a huge win to his credit.
Toppling D.C. Beltway foe and 20th-ranked Maryland, 71-66, was a star turn for English, 33, a former standout at Missouri who played briefly in the NBA. It was Mason’s first win in 10 tries against Maryland.
English has shaken off the transfer of four starters and reloaded with his own set of new players. D’Shawn Schwartz (Colorado) is averaging 15.4 points per game and shooting 47.1 percent from beyond the arc. Davonte Gaines (Tennessee) is the top rebounder at 8.8 per game while averaging 12.8 points. DeVon Cooper (Morehead State) adds 12.4 points per game.
Holdover Josh Oduro leads the Patriots in points (15.8 per game) and blocks (1.6 per game). Another holdover, Xavier Johnson, leads in assists (4.8 per game) and steals (2.2 per game).
On Monday night, GMU looks to rebound from its first loss, 67-64, Friday night at James Madison.
“They were the tougher team,” English said. “They were the aggressor. They were more physical.”
Washington is seeking a rebound as well after finishing in the bottom two of the Pac-12 the last two seasons. Hopkins has retooled with five transfers.
Arizona transfer Terrell Brown leads the Huskies in scoring (20.8 points per game). West Virginia transfer Emmitt Matthews contributes 10 points per game. Daejon Davis (Stanford) and PJ Fuller (TCU) bring experience to the backcourt, while holdovers Nate Roberts (9.3 rebounds per game) and Jamal Bey (11.3 points and 1.5 blocks per game) provide presence inside.
The Huskies had the lead late against Wyoming on Thursday, but fell in overtime, 77-72. The Huskies missed 13 of their last 14 tries from beyond the arc.
“They went zone and we weren’t able to get great shots,” Hopkins said. “It’s a fine line. We missed some bunnies. We had some right there that hopefully the next game we don’t miss.”
–Field Level Media