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Keys to the game for George Mason at Bucknell

George Mason Basketball: Keys to the game for George Mason at Bucknell

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Keys to the game for George Mason at Bucknell

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Win the battle on the boards. Rebounding could be the difference tonight and how well George Mason's guards help on the boards could be a big factor. Without Erik Copes, Bucknell's Mike Muscala might feast on the boards and that could be devastating for the Patriots. Virginia had 11 offensive rebounds on Friday night and Mason only had 3. 

Keep them off the free-throw line. George Mason can't afford to let Bucknell shoot 25 free-throws like they did against Purdue. Mason struggled from the line on Friday and they don't want this one to have to come down to free-throws. They pressed well and didn't foul UVA much and they have to keep themselves disciplined again tonight. Sloppy fouls early could slow things down and allow the Bison to build an early lead. This was a big problem that plagued them last season in road games.

Guard the perimeter. The Patriots can't let all the focus go to Mike Muscala because Bucknell still has their share of outside shooters. Muscala is good but he's not going to drop 25-30 points on anyone. Mason needs to resist the urge to collapse on him and leaving their guards wide open. A lot of UVA's made three-pointers on Friday were heavily contested so Mason already looked better than last season but they need to keep that up. And don't be fooled by the boxscore of the Bucknell-Purdue game (2-10 3pters), last year Cameron Ayers shredded the Patriots with his long range shooting. 

Drive to the basket. George Mason has a size advantage at every spot except center tonight. They also are the more athletic team, especially on the wing and forward spots. Sherrod Wright and Bryon Allen were excellent at driving to the basket on Friday night and need to do that again tonight  and get the Bucknell front court into foul trouble. Anali Okoloji and Marko Gujanicic can both dominate at the 3 in this one if given the chance and if they attack the basket along with the back court I don't think Bucknell will have an answer if Muscala gets into foul trouble. Muscala is a good shot-blocking presence in the middle but Mason has too much of a talent advantage here to shy away from attacking the rim.

[Photo by John Powell]


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