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George Mason Basketball

George Mason Basketball: January 2010

Sunday, January 31, 2010

George Mason vs James Madison Video Highlights

[Video by Thuc Phan]

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Too close for comfort, Patriots survive JMU

If I told you the statistics before the outcome of this game, you would have never believed the Patriots survived this win at home. In the 2nd half James Madison shot 69.6% from the field while Mason only collected five rebounds after halftime. The Patriots lately, numbers aside, have just found a way to get themselves into winning situations late in the game. The Dukes did turnover the ball 20 times and Mason scored off them often. Cam Long was the hero again in this one as he scored 23 points including the team's last 11 to close out the game. Long's big day was needed as starters Andre Cornelius, Ryan Pearson, and Mike Morrison struggled from the field. In their absence we saw Louis Birdsong and Johnny Williams pick up the slack, combining for 17 points and 3 blocked shots.

Although Mason got a little careless at the end of this one it's tough to be disappointed with how they manage to keep coming out of these games with a victory. How many times are gonna let a team shot nearly 70% in a half and come out of it with a victory? This team has found their identity and some might think that identity is relying a bit too much on Cam Long but that's just fine with me. Long has grown into the role of shooting guard/wing and as a result is scoring 20 or more points a game in the team's past five. Some of the younger guys on this team are often going to have off nights, even KRAM, but if Long, Tate, and Birdsong keep having consistent games like this, it's going to be an interesting next couple of weeks.

Roster update from WaPo:
"Freshman guard Rashad Whack (2.2-point average) slipped in the shower and dislocated his left shoulder Friday. He was scheduled to be evaluated this weekend. . . . Freshman forward Paris Bennett (three games) underwent wrist surgery and will miss the rest of the season."

NCAA Basketball Stats


Friday, January 29, 2010

Previewing James Madison at George Mason

Last time these two teams met in Harrisonburg it was quite an interesting ending. Despite coming away with the victory, the Patriots had some trouble in the front court with the Duke's Denzel Bowles. Lately, we have seen better rebounding from this group and I wouldn't be surprised if we saw more help there from Louis Birdsong; even if Ryan Pearson starts. Pearson is expected to play tomorrow but don't be surprised if hes pulled due to a Mason lead, especially with the brutal schedule ahead.

If the Patriots continue their hot shooting from three-point land I think they can put this one away easy. Cam Long, in the past five games has been shooting 56% from behind the arch and as a team they lead the CAA from there in conference games at around 40%. But if JMU slows the game down early and draws the Mason front court into fouls it could be a closer game down the stretch. When Mason continues to drain outside shots with ease then we will see more alley-oops and dunks to Mike Morrison and it will be a repeat of the past week. Mason has the deeper bench and gets to the free-throw line a lot more than JMU and lately have been slashing to the basket more and more. Keep in mind the Dukes are coming off a win against William & Mary and have been shooting over 40% in their past two games.


Counting Down George Mason Basketball Top 50 Plays of the Decade (30-21)

[Video by Thuc Phan]


Thursday, January 28, 2010

At 9-1 in the CAA, George Mason is off to best start in school history

Was checking previous seasons in school history to verify if this was the first 9-1 start in school history for the Patriots and the D1scourse blog beat me to it:
"George Mason (14-7, 9-1 CAA) temporarily sits atop the conference by a half-game, a margin likely to be erased tonight when Old Dominion (8-1 in the league) welcomes Georgia State to Norfolk.

Nevertheless, the Patriots shrugged off a bumpy nonconference stretch to claim their usual spot near the top of the CAA.

Except this happens to be the Patriots' best CAA start ever.

(Doc) Nix that. Best conference start, regardless of league, ever.

Here's the rundown of Mason's previous best spurts to open conference play:

1990: 5-1 (Finished 10-4, tied for second, lost in CAA semifinals)
1999: 5-1 (Finished 13-3, won regular season and CAA tournament)
2006: 7-1 (Finished 15-3, tied for first, reached NCAA Final Four)
2009: 7-1 (Finished 13-5, second place, lost in CAA final, earned NIT invitation)"

George Mason vs Delaware Video Highlights and Post Game

[Videos by Thuc Phan]


George Mason takes over 1st place in CAA after 77-66 win over Delaware

Brought my fiancé to the game last night as the closing seconds of the game ticked off what was she excited about? The Patriots taking over sole possession of first place in the CAA with a 9-1 record in conference? The 16 game winning streak at home against CAA opponents? Nope, she was ripe with emotion over not understanding why Luke Hancock was holding on to the ball in the closing seconds and not jacking up a three-pointer which would have given Mason 80 points and free Chick-fil-a sandwiches for all in attendance. But hey let's be honest those free chicken sandwiches would have been the icing on the cake last night.

The Patriots came out shooting hot again, starting off the night with back-to-back three-pointers and amounting a big lead. Cam Long was again having a good shooting night and has continuted to look so much more comfortable in the shooting guard role, finishing with 18 points and just coming shy of keeping his streak of 20-point games going. Andre Cornelius and him were a combined 5-for-9 from the three-point line as the Patriots continue to have success from there. Meanwhile Sherrod Wright is starting to consistently show that he can come off the bench and make things happen. He's dangerous in the open court and his role on this team seems to be increasing.

Louis Birdsong started in place of the injured Ryan Pearson (hamstring), his status for Saturday is still uncertain. Resting Pearson before the brutal stretch of games the coming up probably isn't a bad idea. Birdsong stepped up big time and probably had his best game of the season, recording 11 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 blocks. Does Birdsong need a starting role to keep contributing these numbers or can we expect this off the bench more in the future, that's the big question. The rotation of Birdsong and Foster seemed to work well with Morrison but they won't have as easy a time getting inside baskets against JMU this Saturday if Pearson can't go.

Side note on Paris Bennett and Vertrail Vaughns from the Post:
Patriots notes: Freshmen Paris Bennett (three appearances) and Vertrail Vaughns (six) are out with wrist injuries and aren't expected to play again this season
I had traded emails with assistant coach Eric Konkol about this a few weeks ago and although he could not comfirm or deny if either player would be redshirted it's obvious that it's going to happen to at least one of them. The rule on medical redshirting is if a player has an injury within the first half of the year (15 games) and has not played more than 30% of the entire year during those first 15 games, they may be granted a medical redshirt if that injury prevents them from playing. Don't know if any announcement from the school will come before the season is over.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Game Day Links: Mason vs Delaware (Free Video Live Stream)

Cam Long getting praise from local media

Before this season started there was high hopes for a big year from junior guard Cam Long. Being one of the few veterans on the squad and the team's floor general, it was only natural to expect him to be a big part of any success the Patriots would have this season. Things didn't start out as planned and constant array of in-game cramps hobbled Long for some of the Patriots early games. The Washington Post today details the struggles he had and what he did to overcome it en route to leading Mason to their current win streak:
"The cramping issue was a distraction and I struggled," Long said. "But also part of it was that I felt like I had to score, I had to get assists, I had to motivate everybody. It seemed like I had so much on me. But now I feel like I am at a level where I just have to worry about playing and enjoying yourself. I have a little smile."
The pressure at the beginning of the season had to have been tough on him and it is good to see that he has grow into the role as a team leader. The Examiner has an article today about him getting out of his shooting slump, something I have been most impressed with during this Mason win streak. The switch from point guard to shooting guard has no doubt been a success:
"Rather than having to create my own shot, I can find screens and my teammates are able to help me out more," said Long. "Rather than dribble, dribble, drive, pull up, it's more coming off a screen and having a wide open shot."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Comcast SportsNet special on Mason Basketball's Super Sophomores [Video]


Monday, January 25, 2010

Cam Long earns CAA player of the week honors

It was pretty obvious after the week Cam Long just had that this award was coming. Not only was he a huge part in the Patriots coming off the three-game road trip undefeated but he averaged 24 points a game and set a new career-high with a 27 point, 7 assists performance. Although at this point you might not have pegged him the team MVP so far, he's been a big part of Mason's current winning streak. Litos says he's finally living up to his press clippings this season, and I agree with that. At the start of the season we expected Long to be playing at this level straight out of the gates. The cramping issue earlier in the season played a role in his slow start but that issue seems to be behind him. The pressure of trying to lead a group of talented, young, first year players might be subdued more at this point which is allowing Long to do what he does best. This may just the beginning of what we will see out of him this season.

George Mason at Towson Highlights and Post Game

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Patriots finish road trip still atop the CAA

For all the ups and downs this season it would appear this team is finally playing to their full potential we all thought was possible. In yesterday's late rally to secure an 80-71 victory over Towson, we saw the veterans step up again. Cam Long fueled a 15-5 run in the last three minutes to close out the game with Isaiah Tate also having a huge put back. Tate proved why he was still in the game late, his veteran leadership has been showing as of late. All starters for Mason finished in double figures, including a double-double for Mike Morrison. The Patriots end their three-game road trip on a five game winning streak and currently sharing 1st place in the CAA with Northeastern and ODU. After yesterday's win, the Patriots are 16-0 against the Tigers since they joined the CAA. As a whole this team just looks more confident and poised on the road, a lot of that is coming from Cam Long but even the freshmen have cut down on the mistakes. Isaiah Tate and Andre Cornelius have really been key elements to Patriots current winning streak between Andre knocking down threes and driving the lane and Tate's covering on defense. This team is going to continue to be dangerous if Long, Cornelius, and Tate continue to play consistently at this level.

-Mason actually out-rebounded a CAA opponent (45-39)

-Luke Hancock was held scoreless for the first time this season

-Mike Morrison continues to struggle from the FT line (1-for-5). Am I the only one surprised team's don't start fouling him late in close games?

-Mason again struggled to maintain an inside presence. They relied on outside shooting to overcome the Tiger's zone defense

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


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Counting Down George Mason Basketball Top 50 Plays Of The Decade (40-31)

[Video by Thuc Phan]


Friday, January 22, 2010

Patriots finish road trip at short-handed Towson

After it seemed like road games would kill Mason's chances of being atop the CAA, it very may be the reason they stay there by the season's end. A win tomorrow at Towson would be a very nice end to a three game road trip and extend their winning streak to five. The Towson Tigers are coming off their worst loss in three years and have been playing short-handed lately with guys injured, sitting out due to NCAA transfer rules, or other issues. They only dressed four reserve players on Wednesday night and had a walk-on starting at point guard for the injured Brian Morris. Morris may be available Saturday though. The Patriots could use their bench and fast tempo to wear down the Tigers in this one. I don't expect Mason to shoot the ball as well as they did against Hofstra but another good showing from Cam Long and Andre Cornelius would be expected. I have liked how the guards have been doing a good job getting to the free-throw line and making opposing teams pay, especially late in the 2nd half. I would almost expect to see more driving to the lane and less three-pointer attempts in this one but since it's a road game for the Patriots I shouldn't try to predict anything.

Looking ahead the Patriots have a very favorable schedule. After Saturday at Towson, the Patriots have Delaware and JMU at home and then Georgia State and Drexel on the road. They don't have to face either William & Mary or VCU on the road and don't play Northeastern again til their final game of the regular season on February 27. This will definitely give the Patriots a good chance to have a decent seed heading into the CAA tournament in March.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

George Mason at Hofstra Highlights and Post Game

[Videos by Thuc Phan]

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Long scores career-high 27 on way to 90-72 win over Hofstra

The Patriots currently sit a lone in 1st place in the CAA standings after a convincing 90-72 rout of the Hofstra Pride Tuesday night. The shooting display the Patriots showcased was nothing shot of spectacular as everything seemed to fall early on. From three-point range they seemed relentless and finished the 1st half 60% from there, a higher percentage then they were from the free-throw line. Cam Long, who netted a new career-high 27 points, is finally starting to look like the All-CAA player we had all hoped to be seeing this year. His efforts along with Andre Cornelius and regular scorer Ryan Pearson showed just how dangerous the Patriots can be offensively we they play well as a team. Previously to the last two games we have seen some great individual efforts from Long, Cornelius, and Pearson but now we starting to see the full potential of these guys working together. If that group continues to have nights like this, I can see this team going through the rest of the CAA schedule without much turbulence.

Aside from the shooting display last night, the Patriots played with a killer instinct and would not let the Pride get back into any kind of rhythm. If they made a big shot, the Patriots would answer right back with a slash to the basket or a pull up jumper. On defense they were aggressive but also played the zone very well giving Hofstra problems all night. Hofstra didn't necessarily have a bad shooting night, it was just that the Patriots had a much better one, especially early on. Charles Jenkins and Chaz Williams put on a good scoring display for the Pride but defensively that squad has some work to do.

-If your interested in a collection of whiny rants from a Hofstra fan, look no further

-Tom Pecora has some interesting comments during the post game:
"George Mason got to that 90 point threshold in part by Ryan Pearson nailing a three-pointer with 38 seconds left and the game already in hand that gave the Patriots an 87-68 lead. When asked in the post game press conference of George Mason taking a three-pointer that late in a game holding a 16 point lead Pecora said, “That’s Mason. Their reputation perceives them. I’m a big boy, I know how to take a beating and I know how to give one and it’s a round world.”
So basically Pearson should have just stood there and let the shot clock run out, because they were up by so many?

-Newsday: Pecora rips Hofstra players after rout by George Mason


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Free live stream for George Mason at Hofstra

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Long and Cornelius come up big in Harrisonburg

The Patriots overcame their recent road troubles as Cam Long and Andre Cornelius finished with career days en route to an 82-71 victory. Although according to the Washington Post, a thrown hot dog helped Mason get the win. The projectile snack from the stands did manage to bring JMU's momentum to a hault as they had cut the lead down to four but to stay it gave Mason the victory is ridiculous. Be that as it may Cam Long finished with 24 points and made a lot of clutch shots, scoring 7 points in the final 2:50. Andre Cornelius took advantage of the Dukes lazy first half defense finishing with 19 including a 3-for-5 day from behind the arch. Mason built big leads early with picking a lot of easy points, while making every shot for JMU difficult. But the Dukes rallied in the 2nd half with some poor free-throw shooting by the Patriots late. Mason needs strong play for Long and Cornelius to be successful on the road and they got what they needed from their leaders. It was a crucial road CAA win as the Patriots remain in a four way tie for first place.

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

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Friday, January 15, 2010

Counting Down George Mason Basketball Top 50 Plays of the Decade (50-41)

Thuc Phan is up to something really awesome over on his YouTube page:
"Presenting George Mason Mens Basketball's 50-41 of the top 50 plays of the last decade (2000-2009). Every week we will bring you 10 plays until we reach the top 10 plays of the decade!"


Thursday, January 14, 2010

George Mason vs Georgia State Video Highlights

[Video by Thuc Phan]


Patriots rally late to extend CAA home winning streak

Interesting win for the Patriots last night and I say that because of how it materialized. Instead of getting most of their points from the front court and Ryan Pearson, we saw Cam Long and Andre Cornelius shoulder the scoring load in this one to prevail 52-49. Also the Patriots closed out the game at the free-throw line despite only shooting 44% from there in the game. With this win Mason picked up their 15th straight victory at home over CAA opponents. Long and Cornelius helped the Patriots overcome a bad shooting night by playing stout defense and limiting fouls. Mason was killed on the boards however and was lucky the Panthers started off shooting the ball terribly in the first half. Ryan Pearson never got going in this one but sank clutch free-throws late in the game to seal the victory.

-After going 4-for-6 from the three-point line last night Andre Cornelius is shooting 47.2% from there on the season.

-If you were wondering why Sherrod Wright didn't dress last night, it's because he was suspended for breaking a team rule.

-Patriots head to the road for their next three games: James Madison, Hofstra, and Towson

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


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Game Day Links: Mason vs Georgia State (Free Video Live Stream)

Watch Live video stream here

Current Line: Mason -8.5

The Patriots head into this game on a 14 game home winning streak against CAA opponents. These home games are getting more and more important as they will probably continue to struggle on the road. Georgia State is a strong team defensively but just don't have much offense to speak of. Ryan Pearson and Mike Morrison are coming off a big games against UNCW and need to continue doing good work on the boards. Mason needs to keep making good shot selections and get to the free throw line. In the last couple of games this has been how they have had success. It would be nice to see more scoring from the guards, as Andre Cornelius and Cam Long have been streaky and both combined for 3-15 shooting from the floor against UNCW.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Mason vs UNCW Video Highlights

[Video by Thuc Phan]


Friday, January 08, 2010

Road struggles continue, Mason gets throttled by Northeastern 71-46

One commenter here mentioned he should probably only watch home games from now on. You can really start to say this team is night and day when it comes to road games versus home games. We should have expected this given the team's youth but after watching some great home performances so far it's difficult to believe the team can play this bad anywhere. The Patriots, who I thought might struggle with the Huskies' front court, had no answer for Chaisson "Mason Killin" Allen. Allen had 20 points and sank 6 three-pointers, most in the first half. As a team Northeastern went 9-for-18 from the three-point and that's just unacceptable. The Huskies did have a great night shooting the ball but the Patriots made it too easy for them early and struggled to mount a comeback. I don't see this team coming back from too many deficits on the road this year, the experience and mental edge just isn't going to materialize overnight.

Ryan Pearson was the only bright spot for the Patriots as he collected 20 points and 10 rebounds. He helped Mason amazingly collect more offensive rebounds but I guess if your the Northeastern and your aren't missing many shots you won't be getting many offensive boards anyway. His grit and toughness around the basket would have complemented some of the guards greatly if they actually hit some outside shots last night. Once the Patriots get off their balanced attack game plan and become one-dimension like they did here, it's over. Mason doesn't have that one guy who can carry the team to victory, they need a collection of guys driving to the basket and hitting the outside shot while also looking for the fast break opportunity.

The CAA schedule gets a tad bit easier for Mason as Hofstra might be the only road challenge up ahead. This team might largely benefit from not having to play William & Mary nor VCU on the road this season.

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


Thursday, January 07, 2010

Game Day Links: Mason at Northeastern

TV: Cox Cable Channel 74, Verizon FiOS Channel 1, DirectTV 643, no free web stream yet

Current Line: Mason 7.5 underdog

Radio Link 570 AM


Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Basketball Prospectus ranks the nation's Top 25 Freshmen, Luke Hancock #22

Basketball Prospectus:
"22. Luke Hancock, George Mason
He's listed as a forward but Hancock functions more like a big (6-5) point guard, one who admittedly commits too many turnovers. Still, let the record show that Hancock is currently making a notably robust 58 percent of his twos."
Just how important has Hancock been to this young Mason squad? Well the kid averages just under 10 points a game, is shooting 52.2% (58% when BP wrote this) from the floor (35% from 3pt), and has accounted for a quarter of the team's total assists. Not bad rook.

[Photo via Off Wing Opinion]

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

George Mason vs Hofstra Video Highlights

[Video by Thuc Phan]


Patriot's take down Hofstra, remain only unbeaten team in CAA play

After last night's 67-63 victory over Hofstra, the Patriots improve to the lone unbeaten CAA team during conference play. This certainly wasn't the most pretty thing to watch as the game started off with both teams throwing up bricks left and right. The Hofstra Pride were having their way in the paint in the 1st half but a little bit of butt-kicking by Larranaga at half-time seemed to motivate the young Patriots to clamp down more on defense. The ended the game with 7 blocked shots and held preseason co-MVP Charles Jenkins in check for most of the game. Louis Birdsong, who most of us have been tough on this season, played excellent defense in this one, blocking 3 shots. In the end it was the Ryan Pearson and Andre Cornelius show. Both had some clutch shots and just great overall defense down the stretch, while also managing to hit free-throws to seal the deal. Mason scored 17 points off 18 Hofstra turnovers and this is area that I think the Patriots are the league's best at. They use their defensive ability to create more points than most other teams in the CAA and I think it will really attribute to more wins to come.

-I thought it was interesting how Mason handled ODU's powerful front court easier than they did against Hofstra's smaller more scrappy group. Mason was out rebounded 41-30.

-After going 3-for-4 from the three-point last night, Andre Cornelius is currently shooting 50% on the season from there. Why isn't he shooting more?

-Jai Lewis was in attendance last night. A shame he wasn't in uniform, the Patriots could have used him on the offensive boards.

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

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Monday, January 04, 2010

Game Day links: Mason vs Hofstra


Just who are these guys?

At this point it seems pointless trying to predict what this team will do night in and night out. We have seen a some awful performances only to then see a terrific performance immediately right after. Most fans knew we were in for a roller-coaster ride of a season but few knew it would be this extreme. After being manhandled by a superior front court at Radford, this team then responded by taking down the CAA's preseason favorite 71-55 in arguably their best performance on the season to date. Everything seemed to be working well for the Patriots Saturday afternoon, especially on the defensive side. They started off shooting the ball well and which helped them to an early lead despite being out-rebounded. Ryan Pearson's 17 points led the Patriots while Mike Morrison was also excellent in transition adding 15 points. It was very surprising to me that ODU didn't attack the Patriot's front court given how successful Radford was in that area just a few days prior. The Patriots had the rebounding edge in this one (36-30) although at times it seemed like the Monarchs had 8 chances to score each drive to the basket. ODU's Frank Hassell and All-CAA forward Gerald Lee never really got it going up front to keep the Monarchs close. Mason did an excellent job on the Monarch guards and they ended up not being much of a factor, especially from the three-point line.

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

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Friday, January 01, 2010

Patriots face ODU to kick off CAA slate, still searching for that whole team concept

CAA guru Michael Litos puts it best in his blog this morning:
"Old Dominion at George Mason: This is your Comcast nooner. The Patriots are quickly becoming the second biggest oddity in the CAA. They have a collection of talent, but the team concept is a little slow to evolve. Cam Long, too, just isn’t yet getting it done. Long’s 11 points and three assists is not first team all conference material."
Calling Mason an oddity is putting it nicely, to me this team just flat out doesn't have the chemistry we have seen in other Larranaga squads, young or experienced. When they have had success this season it's mostly been because one or two guys had a hot shooting night, not because a well balanced attack overwhelmed the other team. I agree with the statement that Cam Long isn't living up to expectations thus far but the blame can't be solely placed on him. As a point guard and the teams most experienced player, he's not making the guys around him better. Long has struggled to average more than 3 assists a game and although heading into this season we knew that wasn't his biggest strength, it's difficult for the young guys on this team to evolve without him having more success dishing out the rock.

Now the they have ODU coming to town after coming off an embarrassing effort against Radford. The Highlanders exposed the Patriots weak frontcourt defense, not a good sign when you are about to face the CAA's best frontcourt. ODU has arguably the best forward in the league in Gerald Lee, and is the center point of their offense. They don't rely on their frontcourt as much as Radford does but they just as dangerous from there. Starting point guard Darius James hasn't come on like they had hoped and Mason will have to take advantage in this area. Lee won't have trouble reaching 15-20 points but the Patriots will have to limit everyone else's contributions. Cam Long and Andre Cornelius have played much better at home and they will need to play a hell of a lot better than they did Wednesday night for Mason to have a chance in this one. Ryan Pearson struggled against a bigger Radford frontcourt, will that also be the case against ODU? And hopefully Mike Morrison learned how much him getting in foul trouble hurts the team early on. Make no mistake that the Monarchs will attack the rim early when he's on the floor.

To win Saturday they will need to create turnovers and limit the Monarchs from getting the ball easily to their front court players. They won't miss as many easy put-backs and lay-ups at home as they did Wednesday, while fast break points will also be important. A strong performance from the three-point would be very helpful to Mason in this one but they have not been successful from their recently. Someone needs to hit some outside shots to take the heat off the forwards.


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