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Damion Lee carries Drexel past George Mason

George Mason Basketball: Damion Lee carries Drexel past George Mason

Friday, January 13, 2012

Damion Lee carries Drexel past George Mason

(Rick Kauffman/Philahoops)
The game went just as most thought it would, until the very end. Drexel freshman Damion Lee, who averaged about 11 points a game prior to last night, poured on 16 points in the 2nd half, nine of which came in the last 1:41. He ended the game with 21 points and the Patriots were unable to answer or deny Lee down the stretch.  Mason's offense sputtered late as the Dragons held Ryan Pearson to 4 points and one field goal.  This is the second game in a row a CAA team has taken Pearson out of the game.  They needed the back court to come up big to overcome of the loss of Pearson's scoring but did not get it.  Andre Cornelius, who got his first start of the season, and Vertrail Vaughns had off shooting nights. Which makes me question why Vaughn Gray didn't get more time in the second half after hitting back-to-back three-pointers in the 1st. Mike Morrison was the only Patriot to reach double figures as the team could not capitalize on opportunities late in the game.

Freshman Erik Copes had an outstanding homecoming and was nearly blocking every shot in sight. He ended game with seven blocked shots, all in the first half. In fact at halftime he had more blocked shots than any player had points. He was three shy of the single game team record 10, set 21 years ago. We also finally got to see Vaughn Gray's shooting stroke Paul Hewitt raved about during the off season. Even Corey Edwards had a nice three-pointer in the first half.  

The team has shown progress this season but last night's breakdown on defense is something they need to correct quickly.  They knew Lee was going to get the ball, as he had the hot hand late, and didn't do a good enough job trying to deny him the ball.  Mason also didn't have a go-to guy with Ryan Pearson struggling. As a result the guards made some bad decisions in crunch time. Their last two possessions were dreadful to watch, one of which ended with a flustered Ryan Pearson hurling up a three-pointer that didn't even hit rim.  Bryon Allen needed to be a floor general in that situation and he will have to learn from how this game ended.

If you are interested in seeing some of the taunting signs and gestures the Drexel students had towards Andre Cornelius last night check out our tumblr page.   

Post game video:



Anonymous Moses said...

What I saw:
Morrison had another very good game but there are times when he has to assert himself on the low block and he's late to do so. He has to get the ball there with his back to the basket and turn and baby hook. It is there. He had a very good game overall.Pearson- Teams are simply forcing him right and also not allowing him to set up on the low left block where he is pretty much unstoppable. And his defense is so so.Allen played well at times but took some bad shots and forced one quick drive in particular late that really hurt. Too anxious. Copes is a beast but he won't keep getting all those blocks until he learns to use his left hand to block against right handed shooters. If he does, dayum. Vaughn Grey looks like he has a legit stroke. I don't know why Mason didn't press this team and force tempo. Instead, they played Drexel ball. Other than late defensive breakdowns, they hit the floor for looses balls and seemed to want it. In crunch, again, they didn't seem to have an offensive plan. Or maybe they just didn't execute the one that was laid out.   

10:18 AM  
Anonymous gmu07 said...

Did Hewitt even draw up a play on those last possessions? Team looked totally unprepared for that game situation.

10:36 AM  
Anonymous Good said...

Allen is the one doing irresponsible shoots such as  two-3 points and and late drive which destroyed GMU's any hope for coming back. He is OK to play the first half, but Never, Never put him to control the ball at critical moments or late in the second half. When he handles balls, everyone gets lost. His first thought is normally doing a quick and forced shot himself rather than find the best plan for the team to score.  D, J and Edward should be in control to slow-down the pace and endure success. If I am the other team, I would always shut down the other players and let Alan play. It will certainly destroy GMU.

10:41 AM  
Anonymous Christopher Hirsch said...

Fear the Beard seems to be ending....

10:47 AM  
Anonymous Charlie T said...

Not that I work in the need to know department but is Bennett out or in the doghouse or injured? Sometimes we are just to small and at times last night that was the case. They got second and third shots and Lee was a real match up Problem. They have to put this game behind them but not without knowing what went wrong and why. This year and this team will just have to endure tough games and be ready to play 40 minutes of solid basketball. My concern or maybe a complaint is they must cherish and value their possessions. Self induced turnovers without good or even bad shots is a path to defeat.

10:55 AM  
Anonymous gmuhoops said...

He was hurt, then suspended for two games. I'd bet he has fallen out of favor with this staff. I'd much rather see Vaughn Gray out there instead of Paris. Better shooter, more athletic, more upside.

11:15 AM  
Anonymous couch coach said...

They say ignorance is bliss. Our SOS is 287. Sorry for the wake-up call guys, but teams like Drexel, ODU and Georgia st. are not tough teams. You only think this because you're under the impression that we're a tough team. It's driving us mad to see this ship go down with all the smiling faces around here. Wake the heck up! i know the boosters are not happy; where in the heck is the intensity from our fan base?

11:26 AM  
Anonymous gmuhoops said...

Who cares about our SOS? The ship sailed weeks ago on our remote at-large chances. Are you staying at this point you aren't happy being in 1st place at 4-1?

11:29 AM  
Anonymous matt said...

We beat ourselves last night.  It's been said: turnovers, bad shots at the end.  I agree with Moses why did we let them dictate the tempo.  Not sure who all the "smiling faces are" but for sure after november I'd didn't expect to be 4-1.  At the same time we should be 5-0 because that was a winable game.  Players have to play with more control.  Guards have to contribute with some level of consitency and the coaching staff has to be able to draw up some screen that get Pearson the ball when teams contain him.  We need to mop up on JMU and UNCW.

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Patriot74 said...

Best medicine for a loss like this is to start a new winning streak.

12:58 PM  
Anonymous Rmjank said...

As much as Allen's failure to score can be blamed for this loss, I can't help but think in the long run it will be a good thing, that it'll help put ice water in his veins.  I think the coaching staff has invested in him as our primary pg, and we'll need him to be solid for us as the season progresses.  The threes he took at the end were open shots, and I have to think that he has demonstrated an ability to shoot them in practice.  I didn't see anyone yelling at him for taking them.  Especially considering nobody was really connecting from outside, except for those two Grey took.  As for Allen's drive into the paint that ended as a prayer, yeah, he has to work on recognizing when the situation is a no-go, but I think that was a designed play.  Can't blame coach for that: After all, by that point it did not look like Pearson was up to the task, Cornelius seemed to have vanished on offense, perhaps MikeMo would have been an alternative... Drexel's D was tight all night but we managed to stay on top of them the whole way -- until Lee went Apesh--.  A frustrating loss, but at least it took someone going Apesh-- to beat us.

1:14 PM  
Anonymous couch coach said...

1. SOS is a gauge in which we measure where we stand as a team. It tells us what 12-5 actually means to some degree.
2. Winning the regular season CAA championship this year is worthless. It's like winning the thinnest kid at fat camp award.

What i want: I want to wake up and see that we are in the finals in Richmond against someone other than VCU. Win that game; find our name on those NCAA brackets on selection sunday. Then I want a win in the first round, no matter how ugly... then i'll be happy in game two. 

1:25 PM  
Anonymous gmubball said...

This team gets lost when they are behind and panic if they are behind late in a game.  Need some one to step up and take over for the guy that graduated and the one that now plays for Louisville.  Don't recall examples of the other three starters from last season (this years seniors) being able to do that (if there are I would bet the assists came from Cam or Luke).  That said the rest of the team is young and shows flashes.  Mike is getting much better (coaching and/or competition?)  Love Ryan, Mike and Andre, but I am not surprised they are not coming up big in clutch situations against quality opponents.  Right now I am feeling pretty good about our chances in the CAA tournament.  I think the young guys will be ready by the end of February and no one in the CAA will be able to play with us.

1:27 PM  
Anonymous Dsndsn said...

The Arena...what's it called the DAC....reminds me of the old GMU "PE Building" I guess now called the RAC containing Lynn Gymnasium. George Mason stopped playing there in the 1984-1985 season. Visiting teams would hate to play there....and correspondingly "GMU" won a high percentage of its home games. I can remember shooting on the actual game floor as a student along with numerous other students at the regularly scheduled periods during open shoot arounds, often on game days a few hours before the game. The last time I think the Lynn Gym floor was actually used, was during the Final Four Run in 06' when it had to be utilized  for practice when the Ringling Bros. Circus was in town the same week and had previously rented the Patriot Center, denying Mason the use of its own home floor.

2:33 PM  
Anonymous Charlie T said...

Thanks, Just saw the thing about the Drexel fans. To say anything about them would be to admit the only class they have are the ones they go to(If they do). Also I agree about the SOS. The league would be very lucky to get 2. I think 12 or 13 is the magic number for first.

2:40 PM  
Anonymous GMURULES said...

CC, I hear where you are coming from and your comments are very similar to mine after the Duquesne game. Our SOS was weak, we were not improving, etc.  But the team is 180 degrees different at this point.  they are all contributing, playing defense finally and look much better.  If we keep improving, we will be in the hunt at the end.  I did not think we would win 3 games in the CAA this year the way we were playing, but now, I feel much better.  Winning at ODU and playing Drexel tough on their court, is good any year, but especially this year with such a young team and new coach. 

3:13 PM  
Anonymous gmuhoops said...

You're confusing SOS with RPI. Murray St's SOS is 257 so I guess according to you they are an awful team and shouldn't be ranked #15. We can't help the fact that we have the country's worst team our schedule twice.  Sure you can gauge our team by that if you want but it's only one method of measure. I find obsessing over that and the RPI numbers meaningless when a team's at-large chances are non-existent. 

I agree that getting to the NCAA Tournament and winning is what constitutes a "good season" for most of us. However that doesn't mean I'm not going to watch this team's progression over the CAA schedule, even if it is a down year for the conference.

3:27 PM  
Anonymous couch coach said...

I'm fully aware of my statement and stand by it. Your point is mine, not yours. Murray st. is not the number one team in the country because we know their SOS. Without SOS we'd have know idea what 14-0 means. I see many posters say "aren't you happy with being 12-5, or 4-1. I say no, because we look horrible. It gives a false sense of who we are as a program and where we're headed. We're a top 150 team; that's who we are. I'm not any less of a fan for saying so.

5:04 PM  
Anonymous couch coach said...

We have a chance to win in Richmond and get that bid to the dance this year . We're good enough in this conference to do that. But when we leave the safe waters of the CAA, look out, because we're not a top 100 program.

5:11 PM  
Anonymous Charlie T said...

I think somewhere in your comments you are a fan. Maybe it is me but I have a little trouble with the horrible look. It is a work in progress and will take time. To think this program will take a nose dive or we all have a false sense is your call. It is what it is and that goes for all the teams in the league. 2 final 4 teams have put the CAA on a level that creates undo expectation but we will be a force in this league for many years. Where that takes us I really do not care. I will just enjoy the trip.

5:28 PM  
Anonymous GMURULES said...

Agree.  we have as good a shot as the big 3, ODU, VCU and Drexel.  At least we are going in positive direction.  I am excited about the season again.

5:36 PM  
Anonymous Rmjank said...

And, assuming we are a one bid conference (I'm not convinced yet, but we can ill afford more losses), we can rest assured that all our foes in the CAA will be going after that dogbone as aggressively as we do.  It should be an interesting year in the CAA from that viewpoint!

6:06 PM  
Anonymous overrated14 said...

It was a well played game by both teams.  It was a defensive game from beginning to end.  The team that broke down on defensive is the team that made poor decisions;and consequently, loss the game in the end.

8:32 PM  
Anonymous Brentrg said...

It was a tough ending to swallow, as we were in the lead 90% of the game.  I know we didn't win, but if we would of won that game and you would of told me Pearson made ONE FIELD GOAL in his last two games I would have said you were on crack.  The team is really growing up, but to not have our top player by far playing at his level lately really makes a difference.  He will turn it around, hopefully playing his best come tournament time.

The biggest encouragement to me last night (other than Copes being an ABSOLUTE BEAST) was the play of Mike Mo.  Makes me sad he's graduating as he has really developed a down low game.  Up until this year, all we would see from him would be an attempt at a drop step, a foul, missed three point play, and then two missed free throws!!!  This year he has been finishing layups like we've never seen (yes, not all dunks!)  If he continues to play well and Pearson does what he "normally" does, we are going to be tough come tourney time.  Every time Drexel made a run last night, we came back and got big basket after big basket.  Yes, we should have put them away much earlier and had many missed opps to do so, but we did stay strong.  Obviously that freshman really laid it on at the end, and credit him for single handedly winning it for them.

Let's go dominate a short handed JMU!!!

9:13 PM  
Anonymous Playball said...

Allen isn't a pt guard because he's a shoot 1st pass 2nd guard who doesn't make his team mates better and that is why Edwards should be the starting pt guard because we need tempo control and a pt guard that gets team mates involved 1st. Vaughn's must do a better job on D because he is getting killed and why was Gray on the bench when he was doing a better job defensively on Lee than Allen and Vaughn's who in less than 2 mins watched Lee put up 9pts? This team plays selfish....period! It will take a team(family) to play in March Madness so think about it.

5:28 PM  

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