Georgia State had so much trouble solving the man-to-man defense of George Mason that when coach Rod Barnes burned his final timeout, there were still 11 minutes, 53 seconds left.

He and the visiting Panthers never figured it out.

Twenty turnovers, 35 percent shooting from the floor, and 25 percent from beyond the arc were the ugly numbers for Georgia State in an unsightly loss, 66-51, before 5,714 at the Patriot Center.

George Mason (12-5, 4-2) wasn’t much better, but both teams had an excuse. They were road weary. Georgia State (8-8, 3-3) had played Thursday night, losing at James Madison in a game that was originally set for Wednesday, but postponed because the Atlanta-based Panthers were snowed-in.

GMU had its own snow ordeal, arriving home from Boston at noon Thursday after a Wednesday night victory at Northeastern. It was the sixth road game for Mason in its last seven outings.

“If you’re traveling, it’s a little bit exhausting,” said Mason coach Jim Larranaga. “It showed yesterday in practice. I could see the lack of concentration.”

Larranaga stopped practice on Friday and asked the Patriots to regroup in the locker room. On Saturday, he gathered the Patriots for a rare morning shoot-around.

But while the Patriots struggled on offense Saturday afternoon, they were able to summon their usual aggression on defense.

“We’d take that any night,” said Larranaga of the Panthers’ ugly offensive totals. “In this league there are a lot of talented offensive teams. If you don’t play defense, they’re gonna score.”

Senior guard Cam Long (18 points) hit 8 of 12 shots from the floor. Senior guard Isaiah Tate (11 points, 6 rebounds) hit three-pointers to spark rallies in the first and second half. Sophomore guard Luke Hancock (9 points, 3 assists) scored all his points in the final 9:46, when the Patriots kept the Panthers at bay.

Georgia State was led by senior guard Dante Curry (12 points) who did all of his scoring from the arc. The Panthers’ top scorer Eric Buckner (0 points) took only two shots against a Mason defense that sagged in the middle, a good strategy considering State hit just 6 of 24 from the arc.

Back-to-back driving three-point plays by junior point guard James Fields (6 points, 6 turnovers) got Georgia State close, 43-41, with 9:32 left and induced the third and fourth fouls from GMU forward Ryan Pearson (14 points). But Mason responded with a 9-0 run, with five of the points from Hancock, to assume a lead that was not challenged.

“We started pressuring them on every score,” said Tate. “That sped them up a little bit in the full court. It kind of got them out of control and we were able to get some fast-break points.”

The game started in hideous fashion. While, Georgia State missed eight of its first 10 shots and committed turnovers on four straight possessions, Mason got one field goal on of its first 13 trips down the floor.

GMU broke out of its funk with a 12-point run to take a 20-11 lead. Tate came off the bench to ignite the rally. On consecutive possessions, he hit a 3-pointer, a short jumper, and a free throw. Georgia State, however, pulled close with a pair of 3-pointers by Curry.

Both teams played better in the second half, but the game continued at a snails-pace because of fouls and other stoppages. Officials went to the table three times to review plays. One resulted in a reversal as Pearson was charged an intentional (technical) foul for throwing an elbow.

“It was such a slow-moving contest,” said Larranaga. “Finally when we got running, and the coaches said, ‘Let’s sub.’ I said, ‘No, we’re finally moving good. Leave that unit in there.’”  

Notes: After having 10 assists and 0 turnovers in Wednesday’s win at Northeastern, Hancock had 3 assists and 5 turnovers Saturday …  Mason hit 25 of 31 free throws (81 percent). Pearson was 8 of 9 and point guard Andre Cornelius was 4 for 4. But Larranaga was happiest about the 6 of 9 showing of junior center Mike Morrison, a 43 percent career free-throw shooter.