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Without Vaughan, Mason can't handle VCU

George Mason Basketball: Without Vaughan, Mason can't handle VCU

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Without Vaughan, Mason can't handle VCU

First off, an exciting game to watch. Some great basketball on display Saturday afternoon, but it became obivous early on that Mason would have it's struggles while missing their leader John Vaughan. Cornelius started in Vaughan's absence and made way too many mistakes handling the ball. Luckily Cam Long had another stellar performance leading Mason with 24 points, the most by a Patriot this season. Long was making shots and driving to the basket left and right to keep the Patriots in this one, and even had a dunk that was on Sportscenter's highlights top plays last night.

He got help from Dre Smith, who connected on 4-of-4 shooting from three-point territory but was literally taken out of the game by the Rams defense in the second half. I didn't see many screens for Smith in the second half and that's just puzzling. Long didn't get help from Louis Birdsong who ended up fouling out with zero points. Darryl Monroe just couldn't get started on the low post, despite the Ram's Larry Sanders being in early foul trouble. Ryan Pearson had a great first half but was unable to keep it going in the 2nd. Isaiah Tate played pretty well and made too big three-pointers late in the 2nd. Credit Ram's coach Anthony Grant for making the proper adjustments at halftime to thwart the Patriots though. The simple fact remained that Mason had no answer for Eric Maynor who finished with 28. Another game where the Patriots could not slow down the other team's star player and it hurt them. It also didn't help that Mason gave the VCU 14 free-throws in the first half with some sloppy defensive play.

You can view the post-game interviews at the end of the video from the VCU Ram Nation blog here. In the interview Coach L state's that John Vaughan won't be playing Tuesday against Delaware.



Blogger mooky_l3d said...

As for the game it was a good game with a lot left on the floor. Mason for the past two weeks can't close a road game down for the win. They let teams just hang around and it bites them in the ass.

Cam's dunk was vicious and was a horrible no call. Look at all of the ticky-tack calls Maynor got. That was rediculous.

I have to disagree with the statement that Vaughn is the leader of this team. To me it has been Long from the beginning of the season. Vaughn is either a hit or miss and doesn't put forth the effort on both ends of the floor.

To many stupid turnovers to win and missed to many needed free throws. The press is not a hard thing to break if you are smart about it or if you even practice a little. Mason knew they would be pressed yet they are still looking like a deer caught in head lights when it happens.

Frustrating to watch two games in a row with a win in sight but just can't close out the other team.

5:47 PM  
Blogger Trent said...

Keep in mind the NCAA selection committee does take injuries into account during their "selection process." I don't think it's likely, but if...

1) Mason wins-out in the conference (maybe one more conference loss)
2) Mason wins their bracket-buster, and
3) Mason makes the championship game of the tournament

...then they'll actually have a strong resume. This scenario is not totally out of the realm of possibilities.

10:54 PM  
Blogger Alli-son said...

Watching the game form the stands was tough. To pull so close just to run out of gas was not fun. And VCU was hot for most of the game, they just didn't miss down some stretches. I was hopeful when we were well into the first half and Maynor had done nothing. Oh well. It's really too bad we don't get to see VCU at our place this season, it would feel good to beat them healthy after that game.

We needed to win Dayton in my opinion to see a post season in the tournament. Our road performance has not been our strong point and our preseason has seen stronger opponents.
I think we need to fight for every win the rest of the season and take the championship in order to go to the dance. The only real challenge I see is the Bracket Buster, depending on our pairing, and whoeever we will see at the top of the CAA (VCU or N'Eastern).

12:42 PM  
Blogger CYork987 said...

I went to the game on Saturday, and let me tell you, the student body at VCU does NOT like us. Which, I thought was confusing, considering that they should at least thank us for their coach, (If Mason doesn’t go to the Final 4, does Anthony Grant even consider the CAA? For that matter, if Larranaga bolted for Providence, does AG stay in Richmond? I don’t think so…). They do a similar Allstate event during a time out as us, and one of the students had a Mason shirt that he tore up and stomped on, pretty violently. I also thought I saw a sign that had something about Vaughan and “knocked out”, but I only caught one glance and then it was gone.

As for the game, I thought there were 6 or 7 instances where we looked totally lost, so there’s your Vaughan effect right there. Not making the adjustment to the press KILLED us; VCU had 18 points (!!!) off turnovers. The last 2 series for us on Offense was concerning too, they let the clock run down then threw up a long missed 3, then we got the rebound off missed free throws, and Cornelius didn’t seem to know what was going on…

I think they can work on the press, that’s fixable, but the end of the game situations (managing the clock, getting quick scores with a sense of urgency) worries me. This game, the Liberty game, and I think the Northeastern game (not sure because I missed the end) I saw this happen. The clock’s ticking and they’re not getting shots up. If they miss, they miss, but put something up…Maybe we win one or 2 of those just by putting up shots.

5:06 PM  

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