George Mason’s official men’s basketball Twitter account plans to get creative when the Dayton Flyers visit EagleBank Arena.
“In honor of Valentine’s Day,” the program announced Monday, “we’ll be providing updates from Wednesday’s game vs. Dayton using only quotes/GIFs from America’s finest romantic comedies and dramas.”
If the way both teams have played all season is any indication, the drama will overshadow any comedy. Each team has a double-overtime loss on its resume. Neither team has won more than two games in a row.
Dayton coach Anthony Grant knows his team has to do a good job preparing to bounce back from an 88-84 overtime loss Saturday at Virginia Commonwealth. Defending George Mason guard Otis Livingston II concerns Grant. He compared Livingston II to Massachusetts star Luwane Pipkins during the Anthony Grant Show on WHIO Radio on Monday.
“He’s a really dynamic offensive player,” Grant said. “They’re very good from an offensive standpoint in transition. They’ve got a seven or eight-man rotation. Our guys have to do a good job with our scout preparation with our understanding of what we have to do from a defensive standpoint. And they’ll mix their defenses up. We’ve got to be prepared to deal with zone and man.”
The Flyers (11-13) and Patriots (11-14) share eighth place with St. Joseph’s at 5-7, and no one in the Atlantic 10 should want anything to do with the No. 8 or No. 9 seed in the conference tournament. The winner of the 8-9 game plays the No. 1 seed, which is almost guaranteed to be Rhode Island (20-3, 12-0), in the quarterfinals.
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Perhaps the most interesting subplot Wednesday for Dayton revolves around how many minutes its reserves will get — or any at all in the case of forwards Xeyrius Williams and Kostas Antetokounmpo. Neither played against VCU. Grant said after the game it was a coach’s decision. He was asked again about that decision by a caller on his radio show.
Grant kept Josh Cunningham and Trey Landers on the court for the majority of the game, he said, and chose Matej Svoboda as the only sub in the frontcourt because he thought they were the team’s most physical players.
“I felt like those guys would give us the best chance in a game like that,” Grant said. “No knock on X in terms of whether or not he would have done a good job obviously, but as a coach, I thought those guys would give us the best opportunity. X had the games early in the year he missed with his back injury and some weight loss and things like that, and just from a physical standpoint, I felt those guys would give us the best chance against what (Justin) Tillman and VCU presented.”
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Grant said he wants to see more players contributing, but taking the starters out for any length of time has been difficult.
“What we’ve found this year is sometimes we struggle and the results we get over two- or three-minute stretches have been just drastic for our team,” Grant said. “We’ve love to be able to figure out a way we can get everybody to the best of their ability contributing and doing what they’re capable of.”
Dayton at George Mason, 7 p.m., Spectrum Sports, FM 95.7, AM 1290 WHIO