Penn falls to 2-9 with loss to George Mason

Penn guard Tony Hicks during Penn's game against Temple at the Palestra on November 9, 2013. (Stephanie Aaronson / Philly.com)
Penn guard Tony Hicks during Penn's game against Temple at the Palestra on November 9, 2013. (Stephanie Aaronson / Philly.com)
Posted: January 04, 2014

FAIRFAX, Va. - Penn's inability to take care of the basketball proved costly in a 80-77 loss to George Mason on Thursday night at the Patriot Center.

The Quakers (2-9) turned the ball over 15 times, including 11 in the first half, leading to 15 points for the Patriots (7-6), negating their 10-point first-half lead. Penn shot 63 percent in the first half but just 32 percent in the second.

"You can't turn the ball over and you have to hold the team to one shot every defensive possession, and that is something that we didn't do as well as we did in the second half," Penn coach Jerome Allen said.

The Quakers led by 41-39 at halftime, but the Patriots quickly gained the lead in the opening minutes of the second half on a basket and free throw by guard Bryon Allen. They did not trail for the rest of the night.

Penn was 12 for 16 from the free-throw line; George Mason was 26 for 36.

"Hopefully we can keep guys off the line and rely on our help and trust our teammates," Allen said.

Allen hit all three of his field goals and all eight of his foul shots to score 14 first-half points. He finished with 24 points to lead George Mason.

Tony Hicks led the Quakers with 23 points and six assists.

The Quakers were aggressive early, hitting seven of their first nine shots en route to an 18-8 lead. Hicks hit a corner three-pointer early in the first half and George Mason coach Paul Hewitt called timeout. Hicks scored 10 first-half points but was forced to the bench with five minutes to play with two fouls.

Hicks hit Fran Dougherty with a backdoor pass for a dunk to give the Quakers a 30-24 lead. Dougherty did his damage from both the inside and outside, scoring 10 first-half points. He finished with 17.

After being outrebounded by 43-26 in a loss to Rider on Dec. 29, Penn was more active on the glass early. The Patriots dominated the Quakers on the glass in the second half and outrebounded them by 36-30 overall.

"I feel like every game this year we have played pretty good basketball, but we haven't played our best basketball," Hicks said. "Not even close."

Penn returns to the Palestra on Saturday at 4 p.m. to face La Salle.

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