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Shockers Get Revenge

George Mason Basketball: Shockers Get Revenge

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Shockers Get Revenge

The Wichita State Shockers came to Fairfax on Saturday in front of a sell out crowd and national TV cameras. Something the majority of their players are used to from last season. The Shockers looked like a team determined to put the Patriots away right from the tip off and they followed through. It also didn't hurt that Sean Ogirri (pictured above) got hot in the 2nd half where he scored all of his 19 points including clutch three pointers late in the game. Theres not much you can do when a guy gets hot at the right time. Shockers played great defense and forced the Patriots to take a lot of shots they weren't comfortable with. Although the Patriots were leading at the half, they were not playing their game. They were not going down low to Will Thomas enough and were launching up three pointers too often. I'm no college coach, but I think its easy to see that three point shooting is not going to be one of Mason's strengths this season. The Wichita State Shockers were on the verge of cracking the Top 25 rankings even before this game and should definitely be ranked when the new polls are released. They looked like a better team then last year, a little more polished and better defensively. The loss will not be a huge one for Mason because the Shockers will have a strong RPI throughout the season, and possibly win the Missouri Valley Conference.

Back to the actual game. I am upset at the fact that the Patriots were not able to profit more off the double teams that Thomas was getting. He would pass the ball out to the perimeter but the shots were just not falling. Monroe was not able to gain anything off it either mostly because of early foul trouble. But there was times were I think maybe the huge crowd and stage could have gotten in his head a little bit. I mean how crowds of that size to see playing in community college? That is also the reason I think Dre Smith didn't play at all, like Monroe, they still have a lot to learn about Division I basketball. It hard to be patient but it is a reality that Patriot fans will have to deal with this season. Another aspect of the game that upset me was the free throw shooting, Mason didn't get many chances but shooting 50% is unacceptable. How do you shoot better from the field than from the free throw line?

So far John Vaughn seems to be the only consistent threat this team will have. He hit baskets at clutch moments but could really have used some help late in the game. Campbell performed much better than the first game but he needs to drive the lane more and get to the line. Thomas was able to still get 14 points and 10 rebounds even with all the attention he got. But hes got to get used to that because the Shockers didn't even have a great post defender and they still had him in check the second half. On a side note, when he hobbled toward the bench in the 2nd half my heart sank, but luckily hes fine, just some cramps. Birdsong did not dress for the game due to an ankle sprain but he will be ready for the next game against Hampton.

I really thought Jesus Urbina and Sammy Hernandez would come off the bench and contribute more. Jesus took some interesting shot attempts and Sammy only got four minutes of playing time. Surprising considering the role he had last March where he got minutes late in important games. Urbina was put in the game too long and didn't play great defense, I would have preferred to see Sammy in there more. We need to get more from our bench or else we will see a lot more games like this lost in the 2nd half.


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