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Patriots fight off Flames to win opener

George Mason Basketball: Patriots fight off Flames to win opener

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Patriots fight off Flames to win opener

The young Patriots first game was both exhilarating and sloppy but the team managed to hold it all together in the game's closing moments to come out with a victory. Everyone is probably wondering about Cam Long and him being somewhat absent in the 2nd half. It does not seem to any cause for alarm, Larranaga had stated on the Mike Wise radio show this week that he often suffers from cramps and that's basically what happened last night as it did in the Georgetown scrimmage. He'll be fine but this is kind of interesting to me because I don't remember this being an issue last season when he started every game. But back to the game, Luke Hancock again looked like a polished veteran and hit a three-pointer in the closing seconds to help secure a Patriots win. The kid just looks confident out there and I think he will be a very important part of bridging the gap between the freshmen and the other players. Andre Cornelius led the Patriots with 17 points while Mike Morrison finished with 12 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 blocks but struggled again from the free-throw line. The box score numbers look almost identical between the two teams and that's a little disheartening to think that Patriots could not dominate the boards. The team's defense didn't do a great job containing the Flame's best scorer Kyle Ohman, who scored the first 9 points for Liberty to open the game. It was very evident how different the team plays without Cam Long in the game. The flow was very different in the second half and Patriots missed some easy lay-ups while the Flame's took advantage of their scoring opportunities to close the gap. Liberty's often four guard lineup kept freshmen big body Johnny Williams on the bench, but trust me we will need this kid later in the season. It's clean that this team might not have it's lock down defender to put on the team's best scorer like we've seen in the past with guys like John Vaughan. Long and Cornelius will have to do a better job against opponents scoring guards. Giving up 45 points in the second half after only allowing 27 in the first is just unacceptable. The aggressive defense scheme didn't yield a whole lot of points but at times looked good and kept the flow of the game in the Mason's favor. I think this game is a good example of the up and down season we might have to endure.

Positives:

Luke Hancock - Looked confident and almost like a veteran at times, especially in the games closing minutes. Seems like he will become the team's utility do-it-all guy off the bench.

Andre Cornelius - 4 for 6 from behind the arc and powered Mason to an early first half lead that they never relinquished

Ryan Pearson - all around good game with 12 points and 8 rebounds, seems to be doing well at both the small and power forward spots.


Negatives:

Free-throws - as a team it wasn't terrible but Mike Morrison needs to improve in this area. Between the exhibition and this game you almost have to worry that teams will start hacking him at the end of close games. Pearson was 6-for-6 from the charity stripe and needs to get to the line more, he could have slowed this game down and prevented the Flames 2nd half comeback attempt.

Defense - Wasn't terrible but wasn't great. Allowing Kyle Ohman to score the team's first 9 points is just something that you can't let happen for a young unproven squad. Ohman was the only one on that Flames squad that could have kept them in the game in the second half and Patriots just allowed it happen with the absence of Long. They won the turnover battle but didn't connect on a lot of scoring opportunities that resulted from them.

Birdsong and Tate - If this is all we are going to get from the veterans I think it's going to be a long season. A combined 41 minutes and 5 points between the two of them. Birdsong made his few points count at crucial times in the game but we need more from these guys, at least defensively.

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11 Comments:

Blogger mooky_l3d said...

A friend told me Morrison had an impressive dunk during the game. I was unable to see the game and was wondering if you had a link that showed this dunk?

11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike M. definitely needs a bit of work on the free throws, he's going to be a target. Hancock can be a big game changer and I'm guessing Paris Bennett won't be playing this season?

11:08 AM  
Blogger Ryan said...

Had a lot of requests for video of that dunk, I hope someone caught it. Hopefully Thuc will upload a video soon. I'll post it if I find it.

11:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the record, Cam Long did cramp up last season. Secondly, you cannot hold him resposible for the defense(or lack thereof) in the second half because he didn't play!! And yes, without his presence, this team looks less than impressive.Let's just hope and pray, the cramp issue will be resolved as soon as possible for his sake, the sake of the team and George Mason fans.

11:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last nights game lived up to Larranaga's prediction that things would look really good and really bad. Hancock looked great but the other freshman seemed to still be finding their way. Tate and Birdsong have picked up where they left off and were non factors. I would be surprised to see much more of them this season. I really wanted to see Williams play. Maybe next Sunday.

11:39 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

Its painful watching Birdsong launch 3's when we have much better, natural scorers on the team. He really needs to come off the bench; he just doesn't do enough to be a starter.

12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I could be wrong, but can cramps really keep you out of an entire half? Especially if they began in the first half. Maybe it was to see how the team handled it with him out in the final minutes, but why couldn't he have come in at the end?

12:30 PM  
Blogger Chris York said...

Hey, how about Hancock's dunk? I might not have seen it very well, but it looked like he took off from the "C" (in CAA) at the top of the key. I like that kid...good pick up.

1:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hancocks dunk was awesome. I would like to see a YouTube on that. That kid can play.

1:45 PM  
Blogger Ryan said...

Posted video highlights, includes both mike mo and hancock dunks

http://georgemasonbasketball.blogspot.com/2009/11/post-game-media-from-liberty-game.html

2:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cam's cramps are legitimate. What do you guys need an official "press release" from the team doctor. He is not going to sit out just to see how the team does without him. That is just ridiculous. He is not the type of guy that likes to ride the pines and be a spectator. Have you not figured that out yet!!!

3:42 PM  

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