This page has moved to a new address.

Keys to the game for George Mason tonight

George Mason Basketball: Keys to the game for George Mason tonight

Friday, November 09, 2012

Keys to the game for George Mason tonight

I recently saw an article that was pretty on the money in terms of listing what George Mason has to do to win tonight. My keys to victory are very similar and here are my thoughts on some of them:

Limit Turnovers. I said this before every game last season and I'm going to keep saying it this season until it gets better. They turned the ball over way too much in their exhibition game and apparently also in their scrimmage against Marquette. Keep in mind Bryon Allen wasn't playing in either one of those but the fact remains that it is a team-wide problem. Committing too many in the first halves of games doomed this team last season and they cannot afford to dig themselves into an early hole against a good shooting team like Virginia. 

Guard the perimeter. UVA has got some good shooters and junior Joe Harris can do some damage from three-point land. This is another problem that plagued the squad last year, yielding a hot-handed shooter. Harris is going to get his points but Mason can't let him get hot from long range. With not many proven inside scorers the Cavaliers will be looking for a lot of open looks on the outside. Guys like Vertrail Vaughns and Corey Edwards need to be on their games tonight on the defensive end or it could be raining Cavalier threes.

Dictate the pace early on. As I mentioned in the preview UVA's brand of defense tries to slow down the game and force other teams into half court sets. Mason can't let them grind the pace into a slow, few possession game. To control the pace Mason will have to effectively press on defense. UVA is already out of their comfort zone with a platoon of shooting guards playing the point (one being a freshman), so it's very important for Mason to capitalize on this advantage. The only problem is trying to play a faster kind of offense is what can lead to the problem in the first key. There will be a good crowd at the Patriot Center and it behooves Mason to feed off that energy. Tonight will be a good test to see how much work Hewitt's philosophy needs on this team.

Get Sherrod Wright going. Looking back at his shooting numbers from last season you have to wonder why he wasn't shooting the ball more. With Ryan Pearson gone, Wright is their #1 option on offense and they need to get him as many open looks as they can. Getting to the line will be important because UVA doesn't currently have much depth available in their back court. Sherrod is one of the better free-throw shooters in the country but just needs to get to the line at a better rate.

[Photo via George Mason Athletics]


Anonymous James Hubbard said...

In an ideal world, increasing the tempo might be the right strategy for GMU, but Allen, Edwards, Vaughans and company don't have the skills and ability to press high up the court with any success for very long. In fact, they will struggle to defend the perimeter in slower half-court sets. GMU needs to adjust to the talent available and focus on ball control and efficiency in the half court. If that means playing slower (which it does) they need to accept that. In any case, running up and down the court is very last century. There's more than one reason that the last GMU coach, old what's his name, focused on protecting the ball and scoring efficiency. 

2:54 PM  
Anonymous StopWearingPurple said...

Good call on the keys to the game.  They did a better job of protecting the ball, they paid the price when they lost track of a guard on the perimeter (especially in the second half), and they consistently pushed the ball on offense and pressed on defense.  I have a feeling the next "keys to the game" will include making free throws. 

11:13 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Blog Counter