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Mason falls to VCU in quarterfinals

George Mason Basketball: Mason falls to VCU in quarterfinals

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Mason falls to VCU in quarterfinals

Judging from my poll last week most of us aren't shocked from this loss. Until the 7 minute mark in the 2nd half you would have thought it would have game down to the wire. Brandon Rozzell's three consecutive 3-pointers fueled a late VCU spurt Saturday, while Mason couldn't find anyone late to count on for a basket. Cam Long was awful and it was amazing Mason kept the game so close without his contribution. Ryan Pearson had a monster game but the Patriots lack of a consistent outside shooter really killed them late. The 1st half shooting was drastically better and had a big drop off in the 2nd. That pretty much tells the story because neither Larry Sanders nor Joey Rodriguez killed them yesterday but the Patriots just couldn't score late.

Your thoughts?


Blogger greenandgold said...

Ryan kept Mason in the game. I think he was playing with a bigger than usual chip on his shoulder because he didn't make All CAA. Unfortunately everyone else on the team played bad and Cam played the worse. I still can't quite figure out Larranaga's strategy. I don't think he can either. What impressed me the most about VCU is their ability to do the basics-set hard picks and strong screens, rebound, everyone on that team can and is willing to pass and they have more than one good ballhandler on the floor at all times.
I just hope the growing pains are a thing of the past and next season will bring about cohesion, consistency, and continuity.
Go Mason!!

9:21 AM  
Blogger jim said...

I wish I could say I was as optimistic about the prospects of 2010-2011 as I was at the beginning of the season. VCU, among other CAA teams aren't losing too much going into next season. The last month+ has been a reality check. I'm still cautiously optimistic, but I echo greenandgolds thought regarding the growing pain. Hopefully the subpar end of the season will really light a fire under Long. (and the rest)

9:37 AM  
Blogger Brock said...

Too many guys who think they are chiefs and not enough Indians on this team. It probably wouldn't have been this way if we had a "go to" guy. With the absence of that person everyone else felt like they had to step up, but ended up forcing shots that weren't there. Five assists in a game is poor. As soon as these guys figure out that this is a team game, we'll be good. Unfortunately, we got worse as the season rolled on while the other young and talented teams in the CAA seemed to get better. It's probably the culmination of the season ending after a very disappointing 6 weeks, but I am not as optimistic about this group as I was six months ago.

9:55 AM  
Blogger What Not said...

I'm not throwing Cam under the bus. He carried this team much of the season. Yes, he could have played better and he's not decisive with the ball, but he's first team CAA next year. I want him on the floor and on my team.
We do not handle the ball well. Teams know that if they pressure the ball, we use up the clock just getting into our half court set and Cam is asked time and again to bringing it up. They ran Cornelius down court because he had their best player on him. They want J Rod away from the ball. There is a very good reason why Cornelius wasn't bringing it up- he is tentative against pressure.
That said, I think he's going to be okay- he has to get quicker and attack pressure. He was a soph playing against arguably the best point guard and one of the best shooters in the league. Tough duty.

Against a full on press, we saw how quickly we can beat a press if Morrison comes to help with the ball, and he did a good job yesterday. That's good coaching and it shows why teams really don't try to full on press us.
Bottom line- we were beat by a better team, with a veteran big man who blocks shots and shoots really well (which is why he'll get an NBA look) and a point guard who is a stone cold killer. He is very good, never rattled, very smart. Shows you how valuable (necessary) a good point guard is.
Mike Mo had a good game. Ryan P had a good game. Hancock had a good game. Hell, Hancock is a freshman and he's taking it to them. As a team though, they are very average. The talent is there but clearly defined roles are not and they need to get stronger, fitter and quicker. I think this is Coach L's job to make happen.
The development of Cornelius and Morrison mean everything going into next year. (They need to watch a lot of Rodriguez and Sanders to see how it's done.) I can be as critical as anybody, but I'm already excited to see who steps up given another year of work and training. Who's willing to work?

10:04 AM  
Blogger True said...

For me, it's not about throwing Cam Long under the bus. It's about the fact that we have no reliable high scorer and he just isn't going to be it. We are going to have a hard time even staying near the middle of the CAA pack if this continues. I'm tired of living my life hearing about Cam Long's cramps and his jello. Done with it. He can do what he can do but he obviously can't be a consistent offensiver performer. Mason desperately needs that and it would make the difference to have one star they can rely on. The other CAA teams have that. I was not even surprised when Mason went into the tank yesterday and just smiled when I saw the score falling on my Ipod. We can say could have done...should have done that in the game...but until we get a star performer and some other players who can more consistently perform offensively, we will not get anywhere. I don't want to go through the Cam Long merry go round again next year. He's a nice guy and we love him but after 3 years of this, I've had enough. Larranage needs to step up and start using some of the freshmen more and stop putting Long in top position when he isn't performing.

11:07 AM  
Blogger True said...

Also wanted to say that the poster here is dead right. Other young teams are getting better. Ours is getting worse, and in my opinion it's not because of the freshmen. Freshmen need time to develop. But when a team goes further and further downhill with the lead scorer not scoring, there is no mystery where the problems are. We'll see if Larranaga gets it.

11:11 AM  
Blogger Brent said...

I was at the game yesterday and Mason really outplayed them UNTIL the final 5 minutes. They played tough tough defense and guys were up for the game. Until the end I don't think VCU had a single open 3 look. The key play of the game was when we were down 3 with like 5 minutes left, Hancock inbounded the ball to a wide open Sherrod and he tried to take it to the hole, but didn't use his body. Sanders blocked it, threw it straight down to the other side, and Rossell hit the first of his 3 point shots. That was a five point swing which certainly should have been Sherrod at the foul line.

The guys played real tough and with purpose (especially Pearson), but in the end they got rattled when VCU started that 6 point spurt. Experience will change that next year.

I know you guys don't want to throw Cam under the bus. But his shooting percentage during Feb/March was HORRIBLE. I said it all along, we go as he goes. He had plenty of open looks yest. and his shot has been off for a while now. We need him to take the summer to figure it out, otherwise he's useless. Yes, we need a leader and he WAS it, but who knows what went wrong with him. The young guys needed him down the stretch and he wasn't there. He is not a point guard, and I would bet anything he leads the team in turnovers since Feb. That is my biggest question for next year because we need a point guard desperately.

I still have high hopes for next year, but we need the real Cam to show up.

12:42 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Before the SD Chargers were to play one of those legendary SF 49er teams in the Super Bowl, one of the Charger defensive players quipped, "With the Niner offense, you try to stop everything, and you end up stopping nothing." That's the kind of team I hope we become next year, where we DON'T actually have a single go-to guy, but a handful who are not afraid of taking the final shot. Who when our opponents see the game film see that several are capable of stepping up. When you think of it, who on our Final Four team was the go to guy? The answer is 4 or 5 of them could answer the call. I said it before and I'll say it again: this season GMU logged in the most youth minutes of any of the top teams in the CAA... by far. This will pay off. Chemistry will come. For next year, we first and foremost must 1) let Cam be the leader, but not necessarily the go to guy, 2) improve our foul shooting!!!, and 3) develop that one thing we don't really have yet, the 3 point shot. If I was on the team, that would certainly be a point of emphasis to develop, and would earn me more minutes.

1:56 PM  
Blogger greenandgold said...

Rick- Thank you for your objective commentary and for pointing out the obvious-Larranaga TEAMS focused on sharing the ball which will result in CHEMISTRY and Wins. It wasn't about the "highly recruited" or raw talent individual play.

True-You are the only one who has mentioned jello and cramps since January.

Brent- To suggest that Cam could be "useless" is just absurd. GMU would not have landed in 4th if it wasn't in large part due to Cam.

I will be the first to admit, Cam did not do well in February(except VCU)or March. It's funny how consistent he was as a freshmen and sophmore playing with a TEAM of veterans.

As much as we have a tendency to focus on one individual, basketball is truly a team sport. The coaching staff and each player must focus on what made them successful and forget about the failures. I hope as fans we can do the same.

4:57 PM  
Blogger mooky_l3d said...

So the difference between VCU and GMU was that VCU didn't let up. When they were down they kept plugging away chipping at the lead. When they were up they put their foot on GMUs neck and twisted. Never letting up in any phase of the game. When Mason can start and close a game out then they will be capable of doing some damage in the tournements. This will be a boring spring through the summer. I can't wait till fall for somemore.


8:14 PM  
Blogger Beach Dreams said...

Mason really needs some pure shooters. This would open up so much and, as VCU did, the 3's get ya back in the game and in a good position to gain momentum. Good outside shooting opens up the middle.

2:53 AM  
Blogger James said...

Is there a "pure shooter" on the team? Does Whack qualify? I don't follow the team that closely but it does seem that Mason is overly defense-minded. In the W&M game I was impressed by how many of W&M's offense plays freed up their shooters--I don't see any such offensive finesse from Mason...

11:12 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Cornelius is our consistent 3-shooter. Cam was early this year, but a major factor in his offensive slump was his inability to hit the 3 from Feb on. Some of us thought Tate might be the guy camping on the arch this year, but he kinda disappeared down the stretch as well.

6:34 PM  
Blogger Reston Irregular said...

Mason lost to VCU because VCU shot better from the outside and because they were playing on what is in effect VCU's home floor. Not a great result, but nothing to be ashamed of, either.
What does GMU need to do better next year?
Team defense, certainly; perimeter defense, in particular. ODU did a much better job in their zone against VCU's outside shooters. Hancock and Wright are big enough, they need to move quicker and anticipate better.
Pearson simplified his offensive game against VCU and it paid dividends. He needs to continue to focus on quick moves to the basketball. No spin moves!
The other big guys need to do the same. I still think Williams shows more promise in this area than Morrison. Williams simply has better basketball sense and better fundamentals.
Outside shooting!?! Lots of jump shots in the gym for everyone. I see opportunities for Whack and Vaughans despite their lack of playing time this season.
Team offense. Coach L tried several approaches this season, none with any great success. Since GMU has no great ball handlers and no great outside shooters, I think we are looking at some half court offense (at least against good teams) that focuses on getting the ball inside but includes enough motion to allow the guards some real opportunities. Of course, if no one can hit the outside shot, no offense will succeed in a league like the CAA. Junior college transfer perhaps?

9:41 AM  

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