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Mad Respect

George Mason Basketball: Mad Respect

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Mad Respect

The Patriots game on Wednesday night was a game I was looking forward for awhile. VCU always gives us a great showing and gritty play down to the wire. This years match-up was even more exciting because of VCU being undefeated in the conference and getting some national attention in the polls. After their win in Fairfax I believe they should be ranked in the top 25, but we will have to wait and see. As ugly was this game was for Mason, with the poor defensive play and even worse free throw shooting I have to give respect for this VCU team. They played with such poise and silenced a large crowd at the Patriot Center at many points in the game. Their three point shooting was off the charts at 60%. This shooting was a mix of the VCU's long range talent but also Mason's poor perimeter defense. Many of these attempts by the Rams were uncontested and would kill a run by Mason. We have seen this before, the Patriots start a run then get lazy on defense and give up a big shot and lose all the momentum. This is a problem your going to have with a young team, its not the fact that they give up these shots its how they react to them. Folarin Campbell is a great example of this; everytime VCU would drain a wide open three he would take it upon himself to take the ball all the way down the court and force up a poor shot. I know hes trying to be a leader but hes not the kind of player that can just put the team on his back and carry them all by himself. Because of Campbell doing this other players were not able to get involved in the second half. Darryl Monroe scored 14 points and at one point in the game scored 6 straight for Mason giving them a spark to even the game early in the first half. Unfortunately all his points came in the first half because for some reason the Patriots didn't want to go to someone with a hot hand once they got behind. The score of the game can almost be summed up when Folarin Campbell had 4 straight free throw attempts after being fouled and then Jesse Pellotrosa getting a technical foul for arguing it. Campbell made 1 out of the 4 shots and Mason squandered an opportunity to get back in the game. VCU got into foul trouble early which is usually a huge disadvantage for a team but not when the guys you are playing are shooting 43% from the free throw line; which by the way is terrible statistic even for a girls high school team.

VCU is the best team in the CAA and one of the best road teams in the country. Road wins are hard to come by for any college team and they seem to be doing it with ease. That is something that will definitely help them should they make the tournament. Walker and Maynor can shoot the lights out on any given night and will continue to give teams problems through February and March. Mason had their chances to get back into the game but its hard to come back from a team shooting the ball that good. Will Thomas did what he could be everyone knows hes going to get the ball when the team is behind, other guys need to make shots when he gets doubled. I think our team has more talent than VCU but that means nothing if you can't use those talents to exploit other teams weaknesses.


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