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Playing for Pride

George Mason Basketball: Playing for Pride

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Playing for Pride

Coach Larranaga is steamed, Mason fans were chanting "Tony, Tony, Tony!" every time Loren Stokes touched the ball, Mason has lost consecutive home games for the first time in 5 years; all in all it was a sad day for Mason basketball. This is one of the rare moments where you will see Larranaga publicly showing his frustration with the team:
"They will see an entirely different side of me and my personality these next few weeks because these performances are totally unacceptable to me and our program."
This is something he should have said a while ago, because not much has changed in the way this team has been playing during the last couple of weeks. Larranaga should be pissed at this team, hes won a lot of Division I games with a lot less talent than this. I really don't think after last season the players would ever not listen to him, so whats the problem then? Its puzzling when you think of all the CAA games Coach L has won with squads that were never recruited by ACC or Big East schools, went up against Top 25 teams during the regular season or even played on national television. Maybe the hype of the season never really went away and pressure put on both Larranaga and the players was something they were just not ready to deal with. Understandable, but Larranaga needs to find a way to get through this, because having a losing conference record was not acceptable even 5 years ago.
"I don't know if our guys are feeling sorry for themselves, but I guarantee you there's nobody in our league feeling sorry for George Mason right now. Everybody's loving seeing us."
Heres a comment from Larranaga that probably best sums up why this season has gone bad. The players seems to be playing good enough defense to win, but they lack the confidence to hit shots on the other end. Are they feeling sorry for themselves? It sure seems like its something along those lines when you can see the hesitation before certain players take a shot.

This game seemed to be playing to Mason's pace in the first half, as things were slowed down, each team not shooting great. Mason was able to hold off the Pride and make them take shots they weren't comfortable with. Too bad this didn't really carry over to the second half. The were able to open the second half with a 13-4 run but stopped playing the kind of defense that kept them in the game earlier. Once again we saw a team rely heavily on low post scoring from Monroe and Thomas, which usually never equals a win for Mason. Campbell, Vaughan, and Smith need to drive through the lane more if they are not going to hit outside shots. Each of them either passed up opportunities or missed open shots too many times.


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