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Mason advances to CAA championship

George Mason Basketball: Mason advances to CAA championship

Monday, March 09, 2009

Mason advances to CAA championship

UPDATE: from "Spoke to Coach Larranaga for our pregame interview, and he reports that Dre Smith’s nose hurts, but is not broken. Smith will start the game with a protective mask, but once he gets running around and sweating it will be a matter of comfort."

So here we are Monday night, ready to take on VCU for the CAA title. Yesterday's game was a little scary at times but give credit to Towson, as they played Mason to the wire and never backed down. The Patriots had been there before, finding themselves down in a tournament game and knowing they had to play smart in order to survive. I think most of us would agree there was the usual three-point launch attempts in this one that we didn't see against JMU. I felt like the Patriots could have stayed out of trouble if they kept feeding their post players more earlier in the game. Be that as it may, Mason still closed this game out with strong performances from Cam Long and Darryl Monroe. The Patriots needed some big shots from Long and he gave them just that, with a wild long range three-pointer late in the 2nd as the final dagger. Dre Smith looked more comfortable in this one and hit a three at the 1st half buzzer while also scoring in the paint through lay-ups. Once again free-throws were an issue, as the team went only 6-for-13 from there. Considering how often VCU fouls this could be a serious issue tonight. The Patriots bench was a non-factor and with playing their third game in three days, that's a little scary. Pearson is putting off surgery to this hand so he can play in this tournament, but him not being 100% really hurts Mason's depth. Tate and Cornelius will have to contribute more than they did yesterday and they need to stay out of foul trouble.

VCU has not looked dominant yet in this tournament and let ODU hang around yesterday, despite their best player being hobbled, by repeatedly sending them to the line. Mason will have to sink some free-throws as they will need the advantage and take points where they can get them. It's hard to bank on the fact that Long and Vaughan will be lighting it up from long range tonight. I would much rather see them drive to the lane and get Larry Sanders into foul trouble early. That would make things a lot easier for Mason's front court. But let's be honest the real story of this game is how Mason will try to defend the Eric Maynor show. JV was out when they faced this team earlier in the season and he will have to pressure Maynor for the full 40 min. Cam Long and JV will have to step up and again be strong leaders for Mason tonight.

Live blog and chat again tonight, starting at 6:30 pm. Game is on ESPN2

video from

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cam Long finally steps up big when he needed to. One more game boyz.... lets make it happen. Gotta love that he showed some emotion after hitting the last 3 pointer!


8:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, and nailing the other 3 through contact. It was tough seeing Vaughn mad at himself because he wasn't hitting anything. I hope Dre will be able to play tomorrow; he only took a couple errant shots but he was still getting things done on defense.

Think Morrison is going to have to step up hard to play against Sanders; which might be too soon for him. all we can do is hope!

10:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cam Long two good nights, two good wins! I said he would probably step up during tournament time and he did. Mason has to bring the "A" Game Monday! Go Patriots!!!!

12:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey ryan....any word on dre? he looked like he got hurt pretty badly, wondering if he broke his nose or if it was just bleeding from the rough contact? gomason has nothing and he seemed to be in good spirits once he was off the court...still left wondering tho!

10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great win last night. With all those blocked shots I kept wondering why they kept laying up the ball instead of taking it strong to the basket.

Does anyone know if Dre broke his nose? It looked pretty bad.

10:53 AM  
Blogger Ryan said...

Coach L said in the post game interview, that it's just a bloody nose and he expects him to play. He is getting x-rays today, so we will see.

10:57 AM  
Blogger Ryan said...

Just heard the x-rays were negative for a broken nose.

11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting stat (and I hope I don't jinx him!): Cam Long has put up 29 threes in his our five games... and has made 48% of them! We needed someone to be hot from outside, and Cam has filled the bill and then some.

11:09 AM  
Blogger C Hirsch said...

I agree with Ryan, the key is to get Sanders into foul trouble, so that means we have to go at him and not settle for jumpers all game.

Of course we have to contain Maynor, if we can hold him to 20 or less that would be good.

Hopefully third time is the charm!

12:00 PM  
Blogger What Not said...

Hey Ryan,

Great live blog and congrats on the media credentials.

As for our Pats, the guards better find some legs before tonight bc they couldn't stay with anyone last night.

That was a Coach L win, tough D, went to a zone to save legs and stop the penetration and even threw a little press at them. Our big man D Monroe stepped up and was aggressively looking for the rim. Vaughn and Long and Dre gutted it out. That was good tough basketball.

No easy buckets for VCU tonight. Got to make it ugly. Can't let them get on a run. The big men have to risk fouling out and get physical. (When was the last time one of our big men fouled out?)
And I think L has got to let Morrison run wild. He creates good havoc (except for the technical). Bet we see more zone D from Mason again too. Dare VCU to spot up.

VCU favored by 4. If I weren't a Mason fan, I'd give the points all day. It is essentially a home court for VCU and Mason looks tired and is winning ugly. VCU is an extremey well coached team and won't give it away like Towson did.

1:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"(When was the last time one of our big men fouled out?)"

Easy, 2009 CAA Tournament vs. James madison..Monroe fouled out. :D

5:06 PM  

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