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George Mason loses senior Justin Kier to another foot injury

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George Mason loses senior Justin Kier to another foot injury

George Mason's Justin Kier has reinjured a stress fracture in his right foot that will cause him to miss another significant chunk of the season. 

The injury could be season-ending, but the best-case scenario for the Patriots' lone senior is to be able to return in early March, according to Steven Goff of the Washington Post. It will force the guard to have surgery to repair the injury.

Kier, the team's leading scorer last season, already missed the first portion of the year. The first stress fracture, which occurred in the offseason, sidelined Kier for the first six games of the year. He missed an additional game in December for an unrelated injury. 

Coming back from the initial setback, Kier was slowly reintroduced into a young George Mason squad that has climbed to a 12-4 record on the year. The past two games saw Kier start for the first time this season, missing only three minutes of action combined and averaging 14.5 points on 50% shooting and 45% from 3-point range. 

“I am absolutely heartbroken for Justin,” head coach Dave Paulsen said in a release. “In my 26 years as a head coach, I have never had a better leader or teammate. … To reinjure his foot at this time doesn’t seem fair. Everyone involved with our program will support and encourage Justin as he attacks yet another comeback.”

Up until this season, Kier had not missed a single game in his George Mason career. He was named a starter as a freshman and has climbed to 27th on the program's all-time scoring list. There is a chance that he has played his final minutes in the Green and Gold.

While the Patriots are 6-1 without Kier, this will hinder the team's chances in the Atlantic 10. All those games - minus their loss to Maryland - were only classified as Quadrant 3 and 4 games. In the preseason, they were selected to finish ninth in the conference.  

George Mason plays George Washington on Wednesday night for their first conference game without Kier. 

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Anthony Cowan was handed a technical foul late in the second half of Maryland's matchup with Ohio State that resulted in his disqualification.

Cowan, with four personal fouls at the time, was hammered on a layup attempt with 3:54 left in the contest against the Buckeyes. He had cut the Buckeyes' lead to 64-59 and thought he was headed to the free-throw line for an and-1. He was not. 

After no whistle was blown, Cowan reacted, kicking his foot in the air in disbelief. He was then given the technical. which was his fifth and final foul. Maryland didn't have its star point guard for the final 3:54 of a tight game. 

Cowan had picked up his third foul with 7:08 left in the game and then No. 4 exactly two minutes later. 

Twitter lit into the officiating that played a major factor in a very important conference game between the two squads.

Maryland ended up losing the matchup to the Buckeyes 79-72, but it didn't lose ground in the conference standings.

Penn State lost Sunday afternoon, too, so Maryland (22-5, 12-4 conference) didn't lose any ground in its quest to win the Big 10 regular-season championship for the first time. With four games to go, the Terps still hold a two-game lead over the Nittany Lions, Michigan State, Iowa and Wisconsin in the conference standings. Those teams are all tied at 10-6. 

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Cassius Stanley shoots Duke past Hokies

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DURHAM, N.C. -- Cassius Stanley scored 21 points and made a season-high five 3-pointers to help No. 6 Duke beat Virginia Tech 88-64 on Saturday night.

Matthew Hurt added 16 points and a season-high 10 rebounds for the Blue Devils (23-4, 13-3 Atlantic Coast Conference), who never trailed.

Duke opened the game with an 11-2 spurt that featured three 3-pointers in the first three minutes. The Blue Devils scored on 10 of their first 12 possessions and later delivered a 19-4 run on their way to a 51-25 lead at halftime.

Duke improved to 21-1 all time at home against the Hokies.

Vernon Carey Jr. scored 16 points and Tre Jones had 14 points for the Blue Devils.

Tyrece Radford scored 16 points to lead Virginia Tech (15-12, 6-10), which shot 37% from the field. Isaiah Wilkins added 11 points, and Hunter Cattoor had all 10 of his points in the second half for the Hokies.

Landers Nolley II, who entered the game averaging a team-best 17.3 points and 6.3 rebounds, had three points and one rebound for Virginia Tech.

BIG PICTURE

Virginia Tech: The Hokies continued their slide. They were one of college basketball's feel-good stories early on with a win over Michigan State and then seven victories in an eight-game stretch through mid-January, but they have dropped eight of 10 games since then.

Duke: The Blue Devils bounced back after getting thumped 88-66 at N.C. State on Wednesday night, winning for the eighth time in their last nine games. They remain a half game behind No. 11 Louisville for first place in the ACC as they pursue another top seed for the NCAA Tournament.

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Virginia Tech: Virginia, which beat the Hokies 65-39 on Jan. 4, visits Virginia Tech on Wednesday night.

Duke: The Blue Devils travel on Tuesday night to Wake Forest, a team they beat 90-59 on Jan. 11.

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