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George Mason routs Charlotte to open the Charleston Classic

George Mason Basketball: George Mason routs Charlotte to open the Charleston Classic

Friday, November 19, 2010

George Mason routs Charlotte to open the Charleston Classic

AP Photo/Mic Smith
There was not an area of the game last night where Mason didn't out play Charlotte.  Coach Larranaga's bread and butter; defense and rebounding, were just some of the main areas his Patriots excelled in on their way to a 78-56 win in their first game of the Charleston Classic.  The odds would have told you Mason had a slight edge in this one, but those odds must not have taken into account the Patriots' tenacity on defense. However offensively Luke Hancock was the star of the night for Mason scoring a career-high 18 points on 8 of 12 shooting. 15 of those 18 points came in the 2nd half where the Patriots just took over the Niners.  At one point Hancock had 11 straight points for Mason during a run that took the game out of reach for Charlotte. It's starting to become a recurring theme that the game isn't over until Hancock has an emphatic dunk in the closing minutes. Aside from Hancock's great effort, the Patriots again won the turnover battle by a wide margin (Mason 8, Charlotte 17) and dished our more assists (16) their opponent. Mike Morrison, who Larranaga says in the post game interview was humbled some by cramps, played a solid all around game coming 1 point and 1 rebound shy of a double-double.  Ryan Pearson came on strong in the 2nd half as he and Cam Long helped seal off the victory combining for 21 points.  Long just looks a lot more comfortable this season and is not trying to force as many ill-advised shots.  You can tell he and the other veterans on the team have much more confidence in the players surrounding them.  I believe Andre Cornelius would have had a bigger game if he wasn't whistled for some early ticky-tack fouls.  His aggression on defense though is making the scramble fun to watch as he turned all 3 of his steals into points on the other end.  Cornelius didn't shot as well last night but unlike last season the team can survive without him knocking down threes in the 2nd half.  

The game was similar to last Saturday's win against Harvard. The Patriots had a lead the entire first half but allowed their opponent to creep slowly back into it before the half ended.  However the Patriots were much more disciplined in this one and made very few mistakes. And if not for Charlotte's block party by center Phil Jones the momentum might never have left the Patriots' side. Another difference between this game and that one was the rebounding, the Patriots had the advantage here all night, especially on the offensive glass. The guards for Mason still outrebounded the forwards (Long 6, Tate 8) but Morrison still looked much more aggressive and gave the team a lot more second chance opportunities.

The Patriots get a huge test today at 6 pm as the face the ACC's NC State. The game will be televised on ESPNU and I will also most likely have a stream posted for those that need it on the site later today.

Post Game Interviews with Larranaga, Luke Hancock, and Cam Long:

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nicely done. Go Mason!

11:09 AM  

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