Tuesday, November 14, 2023

George Mason-Austin Peay Recap

I understand that writing a blog post about taking my kids to a George Mason University-Austin Peay University November men's college basketball game isn't going to go viral. And while some of this is about basketball, some of it's not. Please stay with me here. While I've never had season tickets, I've attended several George Mason men's basketball games each year since I moved to Virginia in 2001. The arena is easy to get to, tickets are reasonably priced, parking is free, and you get to see quality Division I basketball. This isn't Duke-North Carolina, and you won't watch future NBA players, but you'll see entertaining and competitive basketball. My kids love attending live sporting events, so when I asked if they wanted to go to Mason's second game of the season, they were all in.

George Mason has a new coach this year in Tony Skinn. That name may sound familiar to die-hard and even some general college basketball fans since Skinn was the point guard on George Mason's amazing 2006 Final Four team. (Because Skinn was suspended for the first game of the NCAA Tournament, I picked them to lose against Michigan State. I mean, how would Mason defeat a Big 10 powerhouse without one of their best players? Spoiler: They did and then beat North Carolina, Wichita State, and UConn.) WIth a new coach, several graduates, and the remarkable way students transfer between schools now, the Mason roster is completely different from last year with only a few (maybe two?) holdovers. That’s how college basketball works now. 

For the game itself, George Mason had a commanding 42-15 lead at halftime and never looked back on the way to a 67-45 victory. They appear to have a balanced team with multiple scoring options. While it’s way too early to predict how they’ll play this season, I feel like Mason could finish in the top-half of the Atlantic-10. They are certainly not going to be an easy win for opponents. 

Now for the non-basketball parts of the post. Sort of. (Again, thanks for making it this far.) In the second half, a player named Hansel Enmanuel entered the game for Austin Peay. My 12 year-old, The Moose, quickly noticed that Enmanuel had only one arm and questioned how he could play basketball. While I replied that he was playing for a division I school so he must have some talent, I was intrigued and became fixated on watching him. Enmanuel didn't do very much offensively (he caught the ball several times and then passed to teammates) though it seemed like Austin Peay's game plan was to give the ball to DeMarcus Sharp and let him try to do something. Although Sharp finished with a game high 23 points, he went 8 for 24 shooting and most of his points came with the game virtually over. Late in the game, Enmanuel got behind the Mason defense on a fastbreak and finished with a thundering dunk. While the screenshot below isn't great, I encourage you to check out the video on Instagram

When I got home, I found out more about Enmanuel primarily through this ESPN story.

We also got a halftime show featuring Christian and Scooby, who apparently appeared on America's Got Talent. I guess you would call Christian a gymnast or acrobat. The key to the performance is the dog Scooby who climbs all over Christian while he conducts his balancing act. It was impressive and fun to watch. 

This video from earlier this year at an Indiana Fever basketball game is similar to what we got to see.

Overall, a fun night with the kids. Success!

1 comment:

Hard Rock said...

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