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George Mason wins another close one against Bucknell

George Mason Basketball: George Mason wins another close one against Bucknell

Thursday, December 01, 2011

George Mason wins another close one against Bucknell

George Mason won their 18th straight game at the Patriot Center last night in another close win over Bucknell 61-57.  Freshman Corey Edwards who had been starting the last two games, was held out of this one because of a concussion during practice.  Bryon Allen certainly thrived with his extra minutes: 12 points, 5 assists, 7 rebounds, 3 steals, and zero turnovers.  Collectively the Patriots had their lowest turnover number on the season (8) but still had problems on defense which allowed the Bison to nearly pull out a victory late. That being said they had a key stop at the end of the game to prevent guard Cameron Ayers (23 points, 5-8 3pters) from hitting another deadly three.  Ayers was literally the only Bison player who was connecting on threes last night.  

Defensively the Patriots gave up a lot of open looks and the Bison comeback in the second half was fueled by some easy shots and being out-rebounded by Mike Muscala.  They were stout when it mattered at the end of the game but there was a point were you thought the Patriots could ran away with it if they were playing better defense. You get the feeling they are still learning to play solid defense as a team under. If they play as disciplined as they did at the end of this game they should be fine but we need to see it for 40 minutes.

-Vertail Vaughns shooting slump carried over into last night. Over the last two games he has gone 0-for-9 from behind the arch and 3-for-17 from the field.  Keep in mind that Andre Cornelius returns later this month and Vaughns isn't helping his case for playing time once that happens.

-A big factor in this game for Mason was their free-throw shooting. As you can see by the chart below they got to the line at a much better rate than Bucknell and actually made more shots from there than the Bison had attempts. Sherrod Wright, Bryon Allen, and Ryan Pearson were a big reason for this as they got to the line with ease.  It is the athletic mismatches like these that is really the strength of this year's team on offense.

-A quiet night from the bench as the Patriots relied on heavy minutes from their starters. Paris Bennett made his first appearance this season but only played five minutes. Jonathan Arledge continues to show his versatility this season as he knocked down a three-pointer and grabbed five rebounds in 11 minutes of action.



Anonymous Taylormade703 said...

My question is do we have any plays on offense?  Last year everybody was moving around, cutting, back screening, etc.  Often times it seems that now we have 2 players doing something and 3 players standing and watching.  Please tell me I'm just seeing things.

9:38 AM  
Anonymous Good said...

 It is the ball-handler Allen to blame. He is a terrible player as a ball-handler. His goal is not to pass balls but to do stupid shoot himself. He is terrible on shooting but he kept doing it. Because the other players are not expecting him to pass balls, they stand there watching his ugly show. If Edward is there, he would pass balls beautifully. Person normally got easy basket from Edward's pass. We need Edward, but not Allen. He should placed on bench until he leans how to play basketball.

We need Edward, but not Allen !

10:27 AM  
Anonymous BatMason said...

Allen took some hasty long range shots without much ball movement, has he ever been a deep threat? I'd like to see more ball movement in and out of passing lanes, but maybe they're limiting it because of the turnovers as of late. Bucknell is a pretty descent threat from long range, and I thought we did better on our perimeter D, with the exception of Ayers, I didn't understand why they kept giving him wide open looks when it was obvious he was on a tear.

10:39 AM  
Anonymous MasonMA04 said...

My girlfriend and I were at the game last night and saying the exact same thing.  It was pretty striking to watch Bucknell cutting and moving on one end of the court and then Mason standing around at the other end.  I remember one particular possession where Allen dribbled the ball for about 25 seconds near the time line and then stepped up and took a three as everyone else stood around.  No one else touched the ball the entire possession. That is ridiculous.  In this game Mason clearly had more individual talent and athletic ability than Bucknell, and got away with this stagnant style. But that will not be the case most games from here on.  I know the guys are probably still adjusting to Hewitt's system, but some basic ball movement and cutting seems integral to any system.  Hope we see some improvement soon.

10:43 AM  
Anonymous BatMason said...

Finally got to make it out to a game last night, awesome atmosphere in there for a Wednesday night, especially towards the end of each half. Man, Copes is an impressive player. I can't wait to see him progress, he could probably be an absolute beast during his upperclassman years. I liked his presence on D and he has a nice 6-8 foot jumper that he sunk last night, also nailed his free throws which was great. If he can condition up just a little more and work on his quickness in the paint on O he's gonna be a serious force for years to come.

10:44 AM  
Anonymous commboy said...

My take... I did not see smooth movement of the ball last night; it seemed Mason was trying to force the ball to basket a lot on individual effort. Bucknell was doing a better job sharing the ball in my opinion. I am not sure if that was due to Mason can't make shots beyond the arch or Bucknell's defense.

10:50 AM  
Anonymous gmuhoops said...

I think the PG job is Corey Edwards at this point, he just flat out has better handles and makes better decisions than Allen.  Allen is still a shoot-first-pass-later type player where Edwards is pass-first.

10:50 AM  
Anonymous Matt said...

Allen is not a one playing in the one spot with Edwards out.  While he should have distributed more it's not his game.  Despite some ill advised shooting he played WAYYYYYY better than he has all year especially on D.  Paris was definitely hobbled and still got a few things done, looking forward to having him available to play.  We were switching on every screen and yet still seems to let them zip the ball around and find the open man.  Last year we fought through screens and always seemed late.  I'd dont' know the answer that's why I don't make lots of money to coach! We've got to get in passing lanes sometimes  and lessen so many open looks.  At times rebounding/boxing out looked better than ever and then a few minutes later a mess again.  I will also say that Bucknell had a lot of long rebounds and those are often a crap shoot.  Pearson still needs more touches.  Great pass by Mike down the stretch-laughed when the commentator said Bucknell thought he'd shoot it!  If they did they never saw any tape of Mike who has no shot from there.  Lots to improvement to come!  Go Patriots.

10:58 AM  
Anonymous gmuhoops said...

This is what is going to happens when guys like Vertail Vaughns aren't hitting outside shots, they get too dependent on driving to the basket. Hopefully Cornelius can help remedy this when he returns.

10:59 AM  
Anonymous Christopher Hirsch said...

Lot of hate on here for a guy that had 12 pts, 5 assists, 3 steals, and 7 rebounds. That is a beast game for a point guard.

11:25 AM  
Anonymous Christopher Hirsch said...

Not to mention 0 turnovers.

11:30 AM  
Anonymous Charlie T said...

It is still early. Do enjoy reading your comments plus the others. It will be a fun season . Do think this is college basketballs version of spring training. Some teams and some lineups take time. They will be fine.

12:02 PM  
Anonymous xuqra said...

You obviously missed Morrison's attempted alley-oop pass in the exhibition, intended for Pearson the ball was thrown from just inside the arch and sank through the basket without touching anything but the net.

12:04 PM  
Anonymous Matt said...

No I was there laughing and shaking my head with everyone else!

12:07 PM  
Anonymous Deber said...

Morrison has 2 points and only 7 rebounds in 27 mins. Morrison is a Senior. He needs to be a leader and step up and play better.

Sophmore Arledge sank a three-pointer for a total of 5 points and grabbed five rebounds in 11 minutes. We need him on the court more.

Every one is raving about Copes but he was on the court for 15 mins and did not put up the stats Arledge did.
4 points and 1 rebound. Although he had one nice block it still doesn't compare to how efficient Arledge was with his limited playing time. 

12:26 PM  
Anonymous Patriot74 said...

Bryon Allen is playing alot better than a few games ago. Go easy on the kid.

12:33 PM  
Anonymous Patriot74 said...

These haters are the same ones who bashed me 2 weeks ago when I said this team was gonna do some great things. I'm tellin' ya, they'll win 20 or more games this year!

12:36 PM  
Anonymous GMURULES said...

It really seems like a free-for-all out there on O and D. They were rolling early in the first half and gave the whole lead back.  Edwards will be much better point with Allen a 2.  I like what I am seeing our of Arledge.  Athletic kid with a shot.  Reminds me of Williams. VV is pressing, but great hustle!  Our D will be the down fall of this team.  They keep letting teams stay in the game and look like NBA shooters.  Don't know if anyone caught it, Brown beat URI by like 15 last night.  We are 280 on RPI.  We need to start playing a system and get out of the street ball mentality.

12:43 PM  
Anonymous Deber said...

They won by 9 and whats your point final score being 65-56. We beet brown by 26 points. Yes we should have never went into over time with URI. But it was our first game in a new system. 

12:55 PM  
Anonymous Good said...

Man, It is more important to get more people to score 12 points and above. If he keeps doing this type of playing, even he got 100 points, we will still lose. Edward makes the ball flow and allen makes it dead.

1:06 PM  
Anonymous Good said...

This is your fantasy!  They even can not fight a home court advantage against a week team. They start to thought they are NBA type of players, but they are not. The mid-majors can only win game by team efforts. The  current team is doing stupid things. We miss coach L. 

1:09 PM  
Anonymous commboy said...

I don't doubt his effort and heart (just look at the numbers), but a good PG makes four other guys on floor do their jobs better. I believe many think that is where Allen falls short. I am sure no one will complain about those numbers if he is not forced to be a PG, as the situation called for last night.

1:10 PM  
Anonymous Good said...

Do you see how many time Morrison got the ball passed to him? The PG (Allen) shot the balls himself for most of the time. Morrison is getting wasted by this type of play. 

1:11 PM  
Anonymous Good said...

Completely agree ! Good points !  P. H, knows how to coach a team? He may be good on coaching players, but needs a strategist to help. 

1:14 PM  
Anonymous Joe said...

I just don't understand all the hate on this blog, especially in regards to Bryon. The guy was the only point guard out there, and he had a hell of a game. In terms of passing, is he the greatest passing point guard, no, but just look at the times when he wasn't in the game. It was a debacle, so clearly Allen was doing something right in terms of running the offense.

Even defensively I wasn't disappointed last night. This Bucknell team can shoot, and yeah, we had some defensive lapses and we need to improve on some aspects, but overall, we forced a good amount of turnovers and pressured the Bucknell offense into having to make some tough shots. Last night was only the 2nd time all season Bucknell was held under 60.

Instead of continually bashing this team, let's give them some credit. We hit a few rough patches early, but we're 5-2 and on the upswing, I think.

1:21 PM  
Anonymous Good said...

If you pay attention to the past games. Every time, when Allen was handling the ball, it was stagnant and dead, there were not may passing and ball movement. He just kept running and shot. Players became bystanders watching rather than playing. Allen did not know that playing basketball needs a rhythm. Run, stop, think, run again.  it will make defender hard to know your intents, and get confused. If you keep running, he will run with you to the bottom and make life tougher for you. Allen plays without a brain. Edward is very good in controlling the rhythm. Great passing and ball movement. He will be a star in the coming years ! 

1:34 PM  
Anonymous Christopher Hirsch said...

Umm they won last night.

1:46 PM  
Anonymous cgh274 said...

Did anyone catch the annoying Bucknell fan who was running around and trying to start fights near section 103? He was wearing an orange and blue rugby polo and being a debag. Anyways, it was kinda entertaining to see him end up getting thrown out of the Patriot Center.

2:16 PM  
Anonymous Taylormade703 said...

When are we going to name it "Larranaga Court" already?

2:27 PM  
Anonymous Christopher Hirsch said...

Same time we retire Lamar, Jai, Will, Tony, and Folarin's #'s.
We can name the court after him when he isn't coaching another team.

2:59 PM  
Anonymous Charlie T said...

I guess I am wrong but I have to say when I read a comment about a player playing without a brain I have to question,well never mind. Maybe I should not read this nonsense. Be a critic not  a(I will leave that blank.)

3:14 PM  
Anonymous BatMason said...

I agree about Arledge. But Copes is basically a baby out there, and he has a huge presence on the court when he is out there on D. With work, in a few years he will be a CAA of the year type of player. But I agree about Arledge, he's nasty also. Looks good for next year if the new PG signs.  

3:29 PM  
Anonymous Matt said...

Morrison is not and will not be a scroing threat outside of the ally-oop or dunk (and he blew one of those last night.  He needs to use his size on the boards for sure.  His leadership is not in the scoring dept.

Arledge should probably get some more minutes and really probably could play in a line up of Edwards, Wright, Pearson, Morrison/Copes because of his speed for his size.  I'm guessing if the numbers stay he will see some more minutes.

However Copes generally will do things that don't show up on the stat sheet.  He is a huge body to fight in the post, his presence in the lane redirects shots even when he's not blocking them.  I think the coaching staff needs to ensure that he doesn't become Mike on the offsensive end because if he adds scoring to his rep. he will be great.  Arledge is not a sub for Copes body type in a lot of match ups.

3:34 PM  
Anonymous Hespnjock said...

Hey, you guys don't want Allen then we will take him, I hope the kid transfer out of MASON and come to a place where the fans will be more supportive then these MASON fans. Gotta love them MASON fans they are never happy. BA Transfer NOW!!!!!!!!

3:34 PM  
Anonymous ChemistCorner1 said...

Yes - what was up with that guy - he was 120lbs soaking wet.  My wife was standing next to him talking to an usher friend and he was saying he was being spit on - hard to imagine if he stayed in his seat behind the Bucknell bench that was happening

3:35 PM  
Anonymous BatMason said...

Allen takes some hasty shots at the point, but I agree that he has a monster game, and no one is really acknowledging the fact that we were all crying about his turnovers, and last night he had none. He is definitely getting better with each game, if he stays consistent with his improvement I'm usre he'll be an integral part of the team for years to come.

3:42 PM  
Anonymous Jphubba said...

I thought Mason's effort on defense was much better than earlier games. And the help defense was improved as well. Bucknell got open looks because they ran their offense very well. Mason was forced repeatedly to choose between rotating to cover a man near the basket or running at a jump shooter. Mason made the right choices but Ayers at least hit the jump shots that than became available.

The biggest problem I saw was the inability to get the ball inside.  The spacing,positioning and passing were all poor. It's very difficult to get the ball inside except from the elbow extended and it's also difficult when two or three other Mason players are in the paint or nearby. Pearson overcame double and triple teams in the last five minutes, but if the rest of the team executes properly, he should not have to. Of course it does not help that Mason does not have a credible outside shot at this point -- see my comments above about forcing the defense to choose between guarding inside or outside. It also does not help that Morrison has no shot beyond a layup.  Mason could put Arledge or Copes at the top of the key and let Pearson set up low.  If Pearson is double-teamed he could pass out to Arledge or Copes for a mid range jumper.  If Morrison were at the top of the key the defense could easily ignore him.  With Morrison in the game and near the basketball, it is too easy for the defense to double Pearson or anyone else who sets up low.

4:44 PM  
Anonymous Ross_williams1 said...

Allen is getting better. Everyone knew that the learning curve for this season would be a rocky one but they are getting better slowy but surely.

5:45 PM  
Anonymous Patriot74 said...

Bucknell weak? I think not. They're the best club we've played so far this season and picked to win their league. Crying about Coach L wont bring him back.

5:51 PM  
Anonymous out1aw said...

I loved what i saw last night. They won. I didn't think they would.

7:00 PM  
Anonymous Moses said...

Allen had a very good game and is getting better every game. Anyone who longs for A Corn has a very very short memory. Allen is the one guard, with Corey spelling him, and AC will play 2 and shoot threes. If he plays at all. And maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe, someone on the floor will decide to guard the guy who is 5 for 6 from the three. It was comical watching how open he was. Mason was very lucky to win as the last 2 minutes saw Bucknell with crazy open looks that didn't fall. Sherrod Wright simply does not play any D. He would sit if, you know, we had this other coach.....

Bottom line is that no matter who we have coaching, this team is middle of the pack MAYBE this year.  

7:46 PM  
Anonymous Matt said...

After your first sentence I agree (not entirely on Sherrod).  But you can't possible think Allen running the ball and defending is better than Edwards.  I'm not hating on Allen like a lot of these posts but Edwards-despite cough ups-is still running a the floor better and defending better.  Allen is a two and two who will slash, that's fine.  There is definitely not a solid 5 that you feel should play most of the game.

10:46 PM  
Anonymous Brentrg said...

I have been reading all these posts and agree with the one "non GMU" fan who said "we'll take Allen!"  I've watched a majority of the games this year and have seen progress almost every game from Mason.  We played very good defense in the first half yesterday, but gave up way too many open shots in the second half.  Bucknell WON their league last year, and are predicted to win it again this year.  They are a solid team and we held their top shooter to ZERO points.  Now yes, they found a way to get Ayers open, and he hit em, but we beat a very solid mid major team.  We did it with NO point guard, and NO three point shooting whatsoever.  It wasn't perfect, but we are on a four game win streak and gaining valuable experience every game.  Our defense has been improving and our turnovers have certainly been improving. 

Edwards will be the starter all year I think (or he should) as he is a legit pg with a decent upside.  I LOVED Allen's game last night.  He is def. a shoot first guard, but man can he drive the lane and hit shots.  He has not proven he is a three point shooter this year or last, and he continues to throw them up, but other than that, he is going to be a gamer for us.  I am very high on Wright as he reminds me of Folorian Campbell a bit (not as polished a jump shot yet), but he will be our second leading scorer all year behind Pearson.  I like Arledge's game and think he deserves more minutes, but he is just not the defensive player Morrison is at this point.  Did you see that one play where he boxed his guy out, but was well under the rim and for some reason he didn't adjust.  The guy jumped right over him (he's 6'9!) and got the offensive board!  He is still a little soft, but he will improve.  Morrison gives us more fire and despite not contributing as much as we thought he would this year, is still a key piece of our starting unit.  Copes is a work in progress with huge upside, but you can tell he just isn't up to college speed yet.  Bucknell's big's were much quicker than him and moved around in the paint making some easy buckets.  When Copes improves his offense and defense I believe he will be amazing in the CAA.  Maybe not a star in the league, but a definite double double guy. 

Bottom line, the guys continue to learn how to play together offensively and defensively, but I think this is a top 3 team in the CAA for sure.  The league is down this year so people who keep saying, "oh we will get crushed by a real mid major team" are just ridiculous.  I think we win 20 and finish first or second.  A Corn will make a major difference too with his 3 ball's alone. 

11:21 PM  
Anonymous Taylormade703 said...

Georgia Tech had "Cremins Court" while Bobby Cremins was coaching at Div. 1 Charleston.  So it's not unprecedented.  And Larranaga meant more to GMU than Cremins meant to GT, easily.

9:58 AM  
Anonymous Mooky_l3d said...

What I gathered from watching the game was that Mason was more concerned with stopping Muscala and the other inside players than they were with the outside shooters.  While switching on every screen works well with disciplined players it doesn't work if you are switching then sinking down to the lane to help and you leave a shooter wide open for threes.  The difference in the ability of Muscala and Copes was huge.  A seasoned senior against a freshman, or even against Morrison, and Pearson.  Muscala had a better offensive game and ability to rebound.  

Now I loved the back cutting that Mason was using early on in the game.  I though that Wright could have exploited that more often.  While Allen had a great stat line that doesn't mean he was great at point.  I loved how he limited the turnovers which Edwards hasn't done, he also picked up his play on defense.  Getting all of his team moving and rotating the ball should be next for Allen to work on.  

Overall I believe this game was a good test for Mason.  They will need to improve on defense, yet they are still one of the top teams in the CAA in defense.  Wright needs to learn to switch and stay with the man he switched too.  He was constantly left down low double teaming and Ayers was left wide open to many times. 

Looking forward to this weekend with Towson.  Mason should be able to get plenty of opportunity for work on many things with offense and defense.  GO MASON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


10:17 AM  
Anonymous Jake said...

A like JA but he is still too weak for a second year player, the weight room is where he needs to dedicate himself into becoming a better player

10:21 AM  
Anonymous BatMason said...

I like the highlights, but there should be a few clips of the opposing team in there also.

12:03 PM  
Anonymous GMURULES said...

I guess my point was, I am concerned about our play, though we are athletic.  GA State beat FIU by 26 the other night.  We lost to FIU in OT.  I would like us to play better defense.  On the Allen front, good kid, really is.  I just think he would be a better 2, actually better than VV right now who is slumping and have Edwards as your 1.  Edwards is injuried right now though.  We are 5-2 which is great and new coach.  I will be at UVA on Tuesday so hopefully we can make a good showing!

1:11 PM  
Anonymous Christopher Hirsch said...

It will happen in due times, it isn't something I would sweat. 

2:14 PM  
Anonymous Chris said...

Allen definitely does have a tendency to dribble the ball into the ground. Edwards is the better facilitator by far and Allen is more of a combo guard (providing minutes when needed at the 1, but mostly suited for the wing). However, we shouldn't be analyzing him as a PG because that's not what he is. Hewitt saw that the offense runs more fluidly with Edwards at the point and he made the switch. I expect that to continue at least until DJ comes back. Even then I could see Edwards starting and DJ at the 2 with Allen backing up Edwards and VV backing up DJ.

That being said, when Allen sticks to his strengths he can be a force. Those strengths being driving aggressively to the basket and dishing on penetration. Big men have to respect his ability to get it done at the rim because he has shown he can do it... that leaves space for him to dish to our big men.

It is never a good thing to have a guy dribbling the ball into the ground and taking ill-advised shots on offense, but I have no doubt that the coaching staff is letting him know that. He will improve with time in those facets and his defense should improve with time. He still looked lost on D vs. Bucknell and at times I think he was trying to do too much on offense, but I definitely saw marked improvement.

We have to remember in all of this that, other than Pearson and Mo, most of these guys have not seen the kind of minutes they're seeing now. It will take adjustment time for everyone.

7:14 PM  
Anonymous Chris said...

meant to say "he looked lost on D vs. Bucknell for the most part" because I did see some improvement there.

7:20 PM  

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