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Patriots fall to Dayton, despite Sherrod Wright's coming out party

George Mason Basketball: Patriots fall to Dayton, despite Sherrod Wright's coming out party

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Patriots fall to Dayton, despite Sherrod Wright's coming out party

The Patriots saw their 18-game home court winning streak come to an end in a close 56-55 loss to Dayton last night. It's difficult to call this one a heart-breaker because the team played so god awful in the first half. With this loss Mason falls to under .500 for first time since 1999-2000. Looking at the box score numbers you would have thought this game was close for the whole 40 minutes but at certain points Mason's chances looked very slim early on. For example the rebounding edge by Dayton was only 33-25 but what that statistic doesn't show is how Mason was killed on the boards when it mattered. It seemed as if Dayton was able to get all the most meaningful rebounds late in the game. If the Patriots continue to get out-rebounded night in and night out it's going to be difficult for them to make any noise in the CAA this year. Mike Morrison finished with just 2 rebounds. Might this lead to Johnny Williams getting more minutes? He hasn't showed much yet but I really felt like his big body could have been used more in the front court last night.

The Patriots had some poor shot selection through out the game and didn't hit their first three-pointer til late. They ended the first half with a Mike Morrison lay-up that ended a 14:31 span without a field goal. Mason just flat out wasn't playing their game offensively and needed more from starters Long, Pearson, and Cornelius. Larranaga was quoted saying the offense is still a work in a progress, that's a nice way of putting it.

Sherrod Wright
- The second half rally by the Patriots was impressive and sparked by a huge steal from freshmen Sherrod Wright who took it hard to rim, missed the dunk by drew a foul and an eruption from the Mason crowd that didn't have much to cheer previously. Wright finished with a career high 17 points including a buzzer beat three-pointer to end the game. This is what Mason fans expected from him entering the season and I would hope to see him replace Tate in the starting line-up.

Louis Birdsong - The experiment of moving him to a more perimeter role seems to have ended and he was shifted back inside last night. He didn't put points on the board last night but he played a big role in the Patriots defensive efforts in the 2nd half during their rally. I don't really know how this is going to work out for the rest of the season because I would still much rather see Kevin Foster subbing in for Ryan Pearson more as opposed to Louis Birdsong.

Luke Hancock
- Well he finally is starting to look like a freshmen, go figure. I also think his turnovers and other miscues last night are a result of teams actually paying more attention to him. You know if they study film on this guy you will see he has been all over the place so far this year and has been a vital part to making the offense go.

Dayton's Chris Wright - Dayton's YouTube hero forward and 2nd leading scorer Chris Wright finished with only 2 points and was barely noticeable in this one. Hancock was matched up with him a few times and did a good job on him defensively.

Full-court pressure - Larranaga ditched this in the UNCW game and for most of last night as well. The Patriots went back to it in the last minute or so and I thought it should have been brought on a little earlier. The fast tempo was favoring Mason at certain points during their rally last night.

Free-throw shooting - Finally the Patriots were able to have a great night getting to the line and connecting. The ones they did miss were crucial but this is a good sign moving forward.

Below is a chart from and it highlights the "Four Factors to Winning at Basketball". If you have never heard of this statistical breakdown before read more about what they mean here

NCAA Basketball Stats

[Photo credit Off Wing Opinion via Flickr]

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Blogger MLEstyle said...

The second half was an amazing game...though, I wished we had won, I was still proud of the GMU guys!

10:46 AM  
Blogger Andrew said...

Birdsong had a 3pt play off an offensive rebound. He also played great defense on the shooters, something that he is great at, but we had not seen any of this season.

I think not starting these last two games woke him up from the comatose that he has been in. I don't know if I would put him back in the starting line up, but I think that he can still play an important role in our defense on teams like Dayton.

Wright played amazing, perfect on every shot, and 8 free throws. If he can play like he did at this game, even if he doesn't make all his shots, he will be an amazing player.

Long is still taking too many reckless shots. I'm starting to cringe every time he takes a shot. 9 points on 4-10 (1-6 3pt) is really starting to hurt us. He is also still getting too many turn overs, specifically not protecting the ball well enough. I feel like he got lost somewhere between last year and now.

11:23 AM  

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