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Patriots slip to third in CAA after another lackluster road performance

George Mason Basketball: Patriots slip to third in CAA after another lackluster road performance

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Patriots slip to third in CAA after another lackluster road performance

It's been six years since Mason has won in Norfolk and you knew this year would be just as tough despite the fact that they handled ODU in Fairfax earlier this season. The roller-coaster season for George Mason continued Saturday as we saw the immaturity of this team become exposed. Mason trailed 17-1 right off the bat and needed almost nine minutes to make a field goal while never really getting into a rhythm on offense. Andre Cornelius was the only starter who finished in double figures and how ironic that he finally started to shoot well again when no one else on the floor seemed to be able to. The Patriots missed a lot of open shots but the Monarchs played excellent defense and owned the boards when it mattered. ODU also took advantage of the Patriots inside as Gerald Lee and Ben Finney had their way all day long.

The game was basically over early in the second half at the same time Mike Morrison exploded onto a referee arguing a call and received two technical fouls, ejecting him from the game. Per CAA rules he won't be able to play this Tuesday against William & Mary, nice going big Mike. Emotions have been high all season with this young squad but the immaturity of the sophomore class continues to be a recurring theme. Pearson, Cornelius, and Morrison have all missed games now because of dumb and totally avoidable instances. In a year where this team has lived and died by the play of it's starting line-up, it's unacceptable to have guys miss games for reasons other than injury. Speaking of the starting line-up, Morrison didn't start in this one due to Coach Larranaga's effort to get more leadership out of this sophomore class:
"We want them to take on more responsibility and be more accountable," Larranaga said. "As the season has come near the end, you need great leadership from more than just one or two players. Cam Long, as a leader, has been fantastic, but the other starters have got to chip in. When they don't, I am going to try to send them a message."
I think it's ridiculous the lengths he'd having to go at this point in the season to send these guys a message. You almost can't help but wonder if Coach L is losing control of some of these guys on and off the court. I question the move only because Morrison has been hot recently, going 15 for 18 from the field in the last two games. They needed 25+ minutes from him to have any kind of chance against ODU. Johnny Williams has been improving but the Monarchs just attacked him from the beginning and that led to Mason getting into a large deficit that became too much to overcome.

Although most fans might have expected a loss in Norfolk this Saturday, must of us probably didn't think we'd get this type of disappointing showing. It's really difficult to have faith in this team's ability to close out the season strong and make some noise in the CAA tournament with a breakdown like this. We have seen the extreme highs and lows of this season continue to drag on but predicting how things will go from here on out is next to impossible.

NCAA Basketball Stats



Blogger mooky_l3d said...

Ryan I agree with you about the extreme highs and lows of the season. It looked like they woke up in the second half last week and I would think it would carry over. Thats what I get for thinking. What you said about the sophmores really struck me, I didn't think about the fact that with Morrison out next week only Foster has not missed a game because of behavior on or off the court. Coach L is right in trying to send a message.

There were some positives in the mess of a game yesterday. Free throws were descent and Foster came in a played well, as well as Birdsong coming of the bench and getting some scoring, rebounding, and blocks. Just wish the rest of the team was on the same page.

5:04 PM  
Blogger Ryan said...

With the sophomores it's scary to think character might be an issue going forward. Mike Mo just plays with a lot of intensity and emotion but still you gotta keep yourself in an important game like that.

I hope Coach L's message is getting through to these guys.

5:07 PM  
Blogger What Not said...

Just throwing a couple of things out to mix it up. Let's talk Mo- Pear. They should be killing people but they're at this point rarely even on the court together.
Morrison has no post moves: no drop step, no up under, never pump fakes. He doesn't rebound well for a guy his size. Why? Because he's never had to learn. By way of his physical gifts, he's just run the court at will, dunked, blocked shots and mugged for the crowd. He's now getting his ass handed to him a lot, and occasionally plays well, with desire and smarts. Well, maybe not smarts yet. This happens a lot with top recruits- they've never had to learn to play.
Pearson is a little better, but he too can learn some things. It will be interesting to see how they develop over the summer. You can tell Long has worked hard and developed.
So Coach L is doing the right thing. He is insisting they grow up. Put up or shut up- they have a choice. My guess is Pearson will keep getting better. Mo, not sure he has the head for it. I hope I'm wrong.
I didn't see the game but my guess is ODU didn't worry about Cornelius beating them but worked hard to deny Long the ball.
I look to Johnny Williams to step right up and play solidly against the Tribe. And Birdsong getting more minutes is a very good thing, I think.
Keep the faith.

5:23 PM  
Blogger Reston Irregular said...

Mike was wrong to blow his cool, but...any fair-minded observer has to admit that he had good cause. College officiating demands the same sort of suspension of disbelief that one needs to attend the theatre. Any resemblence between the rules and the officials' calls is coincidental. Even when the NCAA tries to impose some uniformity, the officials ignore it. Can you remember what the NCAA's points of emphasis for this year were? Is there any evidence that the officials remember?
CAA refs are no better than the rest. Yesterday's game was a slugfest with ODU getting the better of it. Morrison got hammered on the play he complained about by more than one ODU player. Stupid to complain, perhaps, but not unjustified.
Mike is a talented player, but I expect that by this time next year Williams will have displaced him as starting center. Yesterday's performance was not particularly good, but Williams has better strength and basketball savvy than Morrison. Given some more experience he will claim much more playing time. Starting him yesterday made sense if only because Morrison was bound to end up in four trouble against a physical ODU team on their own court.

6:17 PM  
Blogger KyleV said...

With all the talk of discipline problems amongst the sophomore class, maybe we should consider the a$$ whooping we just received to be a blessing in disguise. "What Not" talked about certain players not having to learn or work for things. Well maybe being embarrassed and on TV nonetheless will help some of these guys realize that nothing will be given to them. I think this summer will be a very interesting time for this immature team. If these team drops any of these home games down the stretch, Coach L will make sure they never forget it. I really hope Mike Mo is going to learn from this.
Another person no one has really mentioned is Andre Cornelius. Is it just me or has his play been extremely spotty this year. He is not shooting consistently and in the coming years we are going to need a floor leader and someone that can counted on to make a three when we need it.

11:38 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

I think the freshman are the hope of this team. Sorry, but I have to say it. The inconsistency of the sophomores, juniors and one-point senior is killing us. We can't let Cam Long keep skipping out of town every other game and consider him our high scorer. In the last few games, our senior and "high scorer" have mostly contributed an average of a few points. And Larranga wants to keeps blaming the Freshman. Baloney. And MIke Morrison's high school tantrum will cost Mason a top 4 bid...count on it...this team is too weak and inconsistent with Cam Long and Louis Birdsong as "captains" I refuse to watch this train wreck anymore. Done.

10:45 PM  

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