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George Mason earns bragging rights, gets revenge with win over George Washington

George Mason Basketball: George Mason earns bragging rights, gets revenge with win over George Washington

Thursday, December 02, 2010

George Mason earns bragging rights, gets revenge with win over George Washington

George Mason avenged last year's disaster in Foggy Bottom last night and earned the Battle of Orange Line bragging rights for this season.  The final score (60-46) might show that the Patriots covered the double digit sports betting spread but it was an ugly game at times and they gave George Washington way too many chances.  Both teams started off shooting the ball terribly but Mason's defense gave them the edge early on.  It was the first game this season where you saw the Patriots sputter on offense to begin a game. However despite poor numbers from the field they were perfect from the free-throw line in the 1st half which turned out to be the difference in the score at halftime.  The slow start might have been the Colonials constantly double-teaming Luke Hancock, who so far this year has set the tone for the Patriots on offense.  If not for some strong moves to the basket by Mike Morrison Mason probably would have been down at the half.  The Patriots weren't playing their game in the 1st half and the full court pressing by GW slowed everything down.  It was a little concerning how easily they were able to throw Mason off their game.  

The 2nd half is where the Patriots found their groove.  They used a 9-0 run capped off with a Mike Morrison dunk to take a strong hold on the lead and never look back.  Their defensive intensity picked up and Ryan Pearson, who was a zombie in the first half, really picked up his game on both ends of the court.  A combination of steals and getting to the free-throw line sealed the deal for the Patriots in the end of this game. They were still a bit throw off by the constant pressing of GW, who actually ended up playing better defense last night then I thought they were capable of doing.  Luke Hancock got a lot of jeers from the Mason fans in attendance for his inability to hold on to the ball at times. Despite leading the Patriots with 15 points he seemed a bit too frustrated by the double teams in the 1st half and will have to learn to work through when teams key in on him like that. Hancock and the other starters had to log way too minutes to close this game out as Larranaga didn't show much faith in his bench.  It seemed as if the starters played nearly the entire 2nd half.  Even with a double-digit lead Larranaga didn't feel safe inserting Bennett, Arledge, or any reserve guards.  In the post game interview Larranaga had this to say about the bench players:
"They don’t clearly understand how to get it done yet,” said Larranaga. “I didn’t want to take a chance on putting them into a situation where they’d turn the ball over a couple times and we’d lose the lead.”
Rebounding: The Patriots didn't do a great job on the boards in this one and were out rebounded 37-31.  They let GW get way too many second chance opportunities and when your playing a team that shoots that poorly you can't have that happen.

Bench Support: So much for this being a deep team.  Mason got almost no help from their bench last night and it's obvious after Coach L's comments post game that he doesn't have much faith in their ability on defense. If he doesn't have faith in them with 8 minutes to go and up by 10 against a team like GW what's going to happen when they play VCU or ODU? The starters won't last playing this long all season and it was rare that no one was in foul trouble in the 2nd half. Also, Paris Bennett continues to get minutes over Johnny Williams in the front court, which is still puzzling to me.

Free throws:  I can't remember the last time I praised Mason for their free-throw shooting, probably because I never have.  Not only did they do an excellent job getting to the line more than GW (as you can see in the chart below) they also made them pay for it.  It still wasn't a great percentage (69.7%) overall but they connected on a lot in the first 30 minutes of the game which helped them maintain a lead.  At times it seemed as if Cornelius, Hancock, and Pearson could get to the line whenever they wanted, I'd like to see more of that.

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Anonymous Ross said...

This was a nice win but you have done a good job of pointing out the trouble spots. You are right that if Laranaga does not have confidence in the bench with a team like GW then what is going to happen next month?

10:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only bench player I really have faith in is Ike Tate and he had an off night shooting. Johnny Williams just needs one big game to get going. It seems that he lacks confidence lately.

11:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I mean personally, I feel like if there is no faith in them then why are they on the team or what are the coaches working in practice with them. I puts to much pressure on the starting 5 or whomever is always in the game. What happens if one of them gets hurt. Then what? We're doomed? It's a team and if the bench players are weak then so is the whole team.

11:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thought this team was going to be deep this year. Hope this area improves or its going to be a rough CAA schedule for us.

11:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am happy to have some bragging rights back over some co-workers who went to GW

12:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Only thing you gain by sitting on the bench is a loss of confidence. Funny, Long was not mentioned once in your commentary although he logged the most minutes and statistically had an All Around Good game.

6:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Learn to break a ZONE not pay Around IT!

6:10 PM  
Blogger What Not said...

They were awful last night. If GW was healthy it would have been a different story. Never would have covered. :)
GW smartly played zone all night, even throwing a zone press at Mason and doubled the ball in half court. As Mason has no point guard, ie, no reliable ball handler who can split double teams and bring the ball up, they had to throw over the press. Stay tuned for many many turnovers going forward as every team in the conference does this to them. Cornelius absolutely killed Mason. What was he in the first half, 1 for 7? Jacking up threes? Awful. In the second half when he did penetrate and drew the d to him, Cam was open baseline. But AC is a shoot first pass second guard and Cam just keeps playing but it was not good.
Mike Mo played well again, even shooting free throws well. When he did flash high post against the zone it opened things up lower.
Teams will zone Mason and dare them to hit threes. If they don't, it's lights out.
I don't know why they can't work more effectively against a zone. On the upside they were patient, but when the backcourt is trapped they soil themselves. It's like high school. Attack it and look low!! Johnny Williams gets it, I've seen him work the high post last year. It's a shame he doesn't get more opportunity. No one on the team rebounds as well. But I guess L figures he has to have 3 guards to help with the ball. Ugh. Gonna get ugly. But they'll beat UNCW.

6:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why all the negativities? For the record, we are 5-2 and beating our opponents by double digits in every win. This will only keep our confidence up going into Conference games.

9:07 AM  
Blogger What Not said...

Good point re the negativity. I'll tone it down. It's just that I've seen this same pattern the past 2 years and it is frustrating to watch. I think Coach L is frustrated too, about having no true point guard to rely upon.
I expect more from the program than beating lesser programs by 10+ points. When this group beats ODU I'll be the first to give them credit.

1:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ike Tate should not play over anyone on the roster, point blank. He is a set 3 point shooter and he is not making shots. He is a liability on an offense that does not seem to have any set plays. Nobody was cutting to the basket, nobody was driving the lane, and Morrison and Pearson did not post up very often. I hope we get inside against UNCW's lack of size. I feel like we should have Johnny Williams and John Arledge be on the floor together, that is if Coach will actually play Johnny. I do not understand why he is not even seeing the floor. I feel like Coach isn't giving Bryan Allen a chance to prove he IS a true point guard because he is. The lack of confidence shown by any of the non starters is solely due to Coach L's lack of confidence in them. For some reason he has all the confidence in the world in Ike Tate who couldn't hold Bryan Allen's jock. If this keeps up, I wouldn't be surprised if Johnny and Rashad look to transfer just as Foster did, and it would be a shame to lose a player with the ability of Williams. I would say the same for Rashad Whack, but he hasn't been given the chance to play. Oh well, Coach took Mason to a Final Four so he's bullet proof.. right?

5:57 PM  

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