Scott Kane/Associated Press
Let's be clear: Competing with every team in the conference is different than beating every team in the conference.
With the exception of the VCU game in early January, wherein the Patriots were within a basket at halftime, George Mason has lost by no more than six points in every conference game this season. They have used impressive performances from senior guards Bryon Allen (15 points per game) and Sherrod Wright (13.7 points per game) to keep themselves within striking distance in every game, including their loss on Saturday.
Following that game, Patriots coach Paul Hewitt told the Associated Press (h/t The Washington Post), "Anytime you lose it’s disappointing. To come on the road and play a team the quality like Saint Louis is the way we did, I’m very proud of our players. We gave ourselves a chance."
Allen, who scored a career-high 30 points on Saturday, is a legitimate No. 1 scoring threat on a nightly basis. Since making the move to the off-guard toward the end of last season, he has excelled at attacking the rim and finding his teammates for easy buckets in the paint. Wright received George Mason's only preseason recognition, as he was picked as a second-team all-conference player, but he underperformed in a number of games this season.
As competitive as this team has been, however, its inconsistency is best illustrated by the fact that the Patriots rank near the bottom of the league in every offensive and defensive category. They rank 12th in points scored (68.7) and rebounding (34.3), and they claim the worst assist rate in the Atlantic 10 with just 10.2 dimes per contest. Defensively, the Patriots rank 12th in points against (71.5) and rebounds against (32.6) while surrendering the most assists (11.9) per game in the conference.
With a scoring margin of minus-2.8 points per game, the Patriots are statistically one possession away from a victory in nearly every game this season.