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Thoughts on the Patriot's performance in Puerto Rico

George Mason Basketball: Thoughts on the Patriot's performance in Puerto Rico

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thoughts on the Patriot's performance in Puerto Rico

I had stated even before last weekend that the Patriots would end up leaving the Puerto Rico Tip-Off tournament a much improved team. And despite going 1-2 I see plenty of reasons to be confident in this team moving forward. There were times during the tournament, especially Thursday, that you would have never guessed the Patriots were sporting a freshmen and sophomore filled lineup.

-We saw this team nearly beat a top 5 ranked opponent while playing without their best player in the 2nd half.

-To follow that up we then got to witness a young team never quit against a bigger, stronger, more talented squad despite being down by as much as 21 points.

-And to finish up the trip the Patriots then got huge late game three-pointers from their leader and their best man off the bench. Big plays made from guys this team will lean on during conference play, never a bad sign.

After the playing Georgia Tech however, the Patriot's front court defense was widely exposed. And despite Mike Morrison setting a tournament record in blocked shots on Sunday, Larranaga's aggressive defense looked in disarray at times and resulted in easy dunks for the Yellow Jackets on Friday. Not a good sign for when conference play picks up, the CAA's best teams ODU, VCU, and Northeastern all have strong front court players. Mike Morrison and Ryan Pearson have looked great at times but both had stretches of getting into foul troubles when the team needed them. Kevin Foster's front court presence could help us forget this as the season goes on. He seemed to be the player that has improved the most since the start of the season.

It will be interesting to see how the Patriots perform in their first real road game of the season this Saturday at Tulane.


Blogger Beach Dreams said...

They stayed amazingly composed for being so young. They can be so very, very good (as shown in this tourney.) They will get better as the season goes on.... lookin forward to it. This is not just biased hype from an alumni, but what I really believe. Their recruting class is amazing and they are so well coached.

4:17 AM  
Blogger C Hirsch said...

I expect 3-0 in these next three. Understand three straight road games are tough but Mason is better than Tulane, GW, and UNCW.

2:26 PM  
Blogger's good for you. said...

The potential is there, Ryan. I love what I'm seeing out of newcomers Hancock, Foster, and Wright so far, and Long's last game was a sign of what he can do when healthy. Morrison and Pesrson are musts on the court - we need those guys to give us 25-30(heck, more) minutes a night, and give us around 10-15 ppg/8-12 rbs. Some of Larranaga's best coaching seasons have been when the expectations aren't there yet...all systems point to NEXT year being a magical year. But, who knows - maybe this group of guys has it in them a year early. I am interested as well in the Tulane game...we were so horrid on the road last season, so we really need to start off this year with a win, and keep it going vs. GW and UNCW. These three games are HUGE. We may be better than those three teams, but it doesn't always translate into wins for Mason.

8:27 PM  

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