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George Mason gets by UNCW to remain in first place in CAA

George Mason Basketball: George Mason gets by UNCW to remain in first place in CAA

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

George Mason gets by UNCW to remain in first place in CAA

Photo by John Powell
The Patriots did just enough to beat UNCW last night and remain alone in first place in the CAA.  The 67-61 victory was fueled by Ryan Pearson's 20 points and 12 rebounds and Bryon Allen's career-high 17 points.  At times Mason looked great, forcing turnovers and scoring in transition but lapses on defense and ill-advised three-point shooting allowed UNCW to stay in the game late.  In the first half Mason turned over the ball numerous times in the first few minutes and allowed the 'Hawks to grab 10 offensive rebounds before the half-time buzzer. They did a much better job in the second half correcting those problems but then were completely stymied by UNCW's zone defense.  They forced Mason into taking three-pointers and as a result they finished 1-16 from there. Mike Morrison and Ryan Pearson worked hard on the inside and hustled for rebounds which really helped Mason overcome their problems in this one. They were at their best when they were driving to the basket and getting to the line instead of settling for the outside shots UNCW was giving them.

We saw sophomore Jonathan Arledge have his best game as a Patriot, scoring nine points and grabbing five rebounds. He showed us his athleticism going for tough rebounds and getting to the free-throw line, where he is second on the team in FT%.  Freshman Erik Copes missed another game last night because of his neck and back pain from the fall he took at Drexel. Hopefully he comes back soon because the Patriots could use him on the boards.

The bottom line here is that Mason is continually figuring out how to win games like this and that is a great sign. Opposing teams have been challenging them a lot recently and they are still managing to do the necessary things in order to get the win.  It's no surprise that three-point shooting isn't this team's strength and I hope that they learn from this game that other teams are going to give them those open looks behind the arch. That doesn't mean they should always settle for them.  When guys like Allen, Wright, and Pearson are driving and getting to the line the Patriots are a tough team to beat.  Add to that the ability to force turnovers and get fast break points and we have a team that could do some damage in March, should they reach the big dance.



Anonymous Good said...

 V. Vaughns is a dangerous guy for our team, destroyed the 10-points leads by shooting two bad 3s. It looks like the team's best combination: Pearson, Cornelius, Morrison, Allen, Wright. These guys should be the starters. Best bench to use: Copes, Edward, Gray, Arledge, Vaughns.

11:57 AM  
Anonymous Source said...

Mason had a recruit at the game named Marko Gujanicic.  He's on the Serbian U19 National team.

12:19 PM  
Anonymous Charlie T said...

Our record along with our history make us a big target on the road. I think if you just asked the players from the teams we have defeated they would say they did not feel they got kicked. Having said that there is no question we have not played our best yet as a complete unit. If and when we do it should prove very interesting. No matter what we are Eight and one and I will take that anytime. Vaughns had a tough night shooting and he was not alone but I would never tell him to stop shooting. It happens just ask any shooting guard who has ever played. My real concern is how they adjust to being defended from Zone to the VCU press and their ability to make a pass not a liability.Once again breaking down the will to resist and avoiding mental lapses will take them a long way.

12:47 PM  
Anonymous mooky_l3d said...

I like the win.  I don'tl like the way they won.  That was a really frustrating game.  To careless with the ball against a team that is the worst defensive team in the CAA.  The first 2-3 min. there were 6 turnovers and 2 points.  
I wish that somebody would tell Edwards to stop picking the ball up so fast, he picks it up at the top of the key or just off to the side because he is expecting someone to come across to that side.  If that person is diverted or cuts another direction he is stuck on an island.  
Mike Morrison you are not a point guard or a ball handler.  Please gain you composure and then pass the ball.  
Though the turnovers overall are down from previous games it is the timing of them that is killing the momentum or giving the other team the life that they need.  
Gray needs more time on the floor.
How about not starting the game with a 3 point attempt.  Seems that most of the games start this way with a quick shot or a poor decision.  

GO MASON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2:28 PM  
Anonymous Moses said...

I was the guy telling everyone to chill after Towson, but last night, 9 o'clock, no energy, no passion, no D, no nothing except more talent. I was troubled. Yep, take the win and we're 8-1 but you this team better QUICKLY WTFU (wake up) and play with some defensive will and intensity. I'm sick of Duke and all things Duke but they are the standard bearer for showing up and playing hard ALWAYS.  Coach K will not tolerate a lack of intensity. Sometimes I think they're burnt out at the end of the season because of it but I also worry that sleepwalking through lesser teams will set you up to get spanked by, say.......VCU. They always come at you and you better be caffeinated. 

Pearson needs to go back to what he can do. GET ON THE BLOCKS AND GET TO THE FOUL LINE. Wtf is all this perimter stuff? He doesn't pass well enough to play there nor does he shoot the 3 with enough consistency AND HE CANNOT GO RIGHT. Mike Mo can play high post as he does pass well and will move without the ball and this gives RP room. Copes is a beast and he's this year's Johnny Williams factor off the bench. I hope he brings some low presence upon his return. 

Other than that, the Masonettes show up EVERY night and sell it hard. We should all take notice and pay respect. Standing O's after every half time performance. Fear the Beard is dead. The 'Ettes!!


6:23 PM  
Anonymous x2ball said...

I'm hard press to think that Gray will be with GMU next year.  This KID should be playing more minutes and rest assure if GMU loose a young STUD like Gray....we will have lost a potential STAR. This KID could start for any team in the CAA and Hewitt treats this KID like a walk-on.  Like I said......I don't think he will be back at GM next year. 

2:08 AM  
Anonymous Matt said...

Ryan, I am a bit surprised at the optimistic tone of this post!  I just can't get over the fact that if we can't close out the lower half of the conference with authority what are we going to do Feb 4th onward?  Yes we are winning these games and I'm happy to be 8-1 but we are blowing big leads, turning the ball over too much still and getting killed on the boards.  We won't survive those glarring errors against better competition! 

I agree shooters gotta shoot but I'd rather see Vaughns off the bench.  That said while we have had "a different guy step up" each night we've not had any consistency from our guard play.  Morrison did try a few too many things last game but over all he is greatly improved and I find myself ok with some of his misses bc he has been making so many more.

No idea what happened against the 2-3 b/c we have played well against several zones this year and show that we can get the ball into the soft spot of a 2-3.  Ga. St. zones were a heck of a lot tougher than UNCW.  The three at the start of the game was a designed play to get Andre going.

8:47 AM  
Anonymous gmuhoops said...

They aren't going to see much "better competition" this season except for VCU and ODU.  I'm more optimistic because they started off awful against UNCW but corrected a lot of the mistakes in the 2nd half.  If they keep winning and remain in first place why can't we be optimistic? If you have been following the CAA this year the rest of the conference is having the same struggles Mason is, only difference is Mason is finding ways to win despite them.

8:57 AM  

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