The concern most fans had going into this game was that George Mason shoots threes both frequently, and well. And sure enough, the Patriots took well over half their shots from three, and made 41% of them. But while threes can be the great equalizer, they aren't everything, as Kansas showed in Saturday's 76-67 victory.
Still, this game was, start to finish, closer then it probably should have been. The Jayhawks were without Remy Martin, which was a setback in itself, but the team still clearly had enough of a talent advantage to make this game a bit less dramatic than it was.
That's not to say the game came down to the wire. Kansas didn't trail for roughly the last 33 minutes of play, though there were a couple of ties in the first half after that point. But although Kansas never surrendered the lead, they likewise struggled to put George Mason away. KU built up an 11 point lead at halftime, only to see it cut to as little as five on several occasions in the second half. Ultimately, Kansas never let GMU all the way back, but just couldn't find it in them to truly take over the game. In the end, it was a 9 point victory over a decent mid-major, which isn't a commanding performance, but isn't cause for panic either (especially when down their starting point guard).
Individual performances were somewhat of a mixed bag. Ochai Agbaji had arguably his worst game of the year, shooting 4-14 from the floor, but did still manage 11 points and seven boards. Christian Braun continued to flash his improved game, but also struggled with shooting, making just three of 12 attempts from the field. Still, Braun didn't let it ruin his game, as he put up 14 with six assists, plus a block and steal with just a single turnover. David McCormack was, once again, a major disappointment in his ten minutes of playing time. Despite GMU's big man sitting with foul trouble for nearly the whole first half, Dave missed all three of his shots, ending up scoreless. The story of the game was definitely Jalen Coleman-Lands. The senior Iowa State transfer played far and away his best game as a Jayhawk, coming off the bench to score a game-high 20, hitting five of seven from three, while blocking two shots and notching three assists. And that's despite fouling out.
The Jayhawks improved to 11-1 in their final game before Big 12 play starts. Barring a covid shutdown (which is very much a realistic possibility for any team at this point), Kansas starts league play Tuesday night as they head to Stillwater to play Oklahoma State.