This page has moved to a new address.

A disastrous but fitting end to George Mason's season

George Mason Basketball: A disastrous but fitting end to George Mason's season

Monday, March 11, 2013

A disastrous but fitting end to George Mason's season

At one point in the first half yesterday George Mason had a built a 31-7 lead over #1 seed Northeastern. Impressive considering how well the Huskies took care of the Patriots during the regular season. Mason came out strong and played solid defense in the beginning, making most say 'where has this been all year?'. But I guess we should have known it was too good to be true. Anyone who has seen this team play this year cannot be surprised by what happened in Richmond yesterday. A team that has for most of the year would have moments where they looked like there in control one moment and than quickly switch to immediate disarray in a blink of an eye. The meltdown was very similar to their 20-point blown lead against Drexel in late January. Despite shooting 64% from the field Mason still managed the epic collapse. How bad was Mason's defense, well Northeastern went on a 26-2 run in less than seven minutes to quickly erase the deficit early in the second half. Later, Mason was up 67-61 and ended up being down 69-67 without taking a shot during that stretch. How does that even happen?

Mason had the ball with 33 seconds left and chance go ahead out of a timeout. Bryon Allen turned over the ball on a pass to Sherrod Wright under the basket. Jonathan Lee made the winning layup with three seconds left on the next possession. Keep in mind Patrick Holloway, who hadn't entered the game to this point, was in for those final seconds on defense.

After watching this team play a solid game on both ends against Drexel the day before, it was difficult to watch the collapse unfold. Teams go on runs and comeback all the time in college basketball but it was how quickly Northeastern accomplished it on Sunday that was so unnerving. The constant fouling, a recurring theme of the season, halted any momentum the Patriots tried to build after blowing the big lead. They fought back several times but only to be undone by ticky-tack fouls.

Bryon Allen and Marko Gujanicic came up big but it just wasn't enough. They needed more from their star Sherrod Wright in the end. Also Erik Copes, who had been coming up big lately, was a total non-factor in the game. He wasn't in foul trouble and was nearly invisible in the post on defense. Offensively, the Patriots played a good game but they lost the battle of at the free-throw which turned out to be difference. Hard to imagine a team losing after shooting 64% from the field, especially in a conference tournament game.

Video highlights

And apparently this season might not be over just yet....

[Photo by Craig Bisacre]

Labels: ,


Anonymous eaymar said...

Hey, when you lose your Hall of Fame coach who took you to the Final Four, but then you have a chance to hire the head coach from a mediocre ACC school that:

- Went 190-162 overall in 11 years
- Went 72-104 in the ACC
- Was fired, and paid $7.2 million for the next five years by the school, rather than retain him any longer

I mean, that's a move you have to make. MASON.

I have no reason to believe things will improve, but I actually plan on giving him one more year before I abandon all hope. We'll have, like, 9 seniors next year and, to be fair, Larranaga's best teams were all senior-led. Then again, those senior teams were also Larranaga-led.

9:42 AM  
Anonymous David Houck said...

Hewitt made them slow the game down at the end of the first half when we were attacking and had all the momentum. It was as if he was trying to run out the half. I hate when coaches do this. Play to win, don't play not to lose.

10:06 AM  
Anonymous StopWearingPurple said...

I feel similar. It was a frustrating year but next year is should be more of a bellwether year when it will be top heavy with upperclassmen. I hope they do a third tier tournament to get them more post season experience; especially after the way things went yesterday.

10:06 AM  
Anonymous swimmom1991 said...

My only complaint about the season was that, in any given game, Mason seems to have one player who is carrying the team....and that's not new....happened frequently, even under the all powerful Larranaga....The players need to step up a little more, and be the TWO or THREE to carry the team. I know that by the end of the game yesterday, Bryon Allen, who played like a superstar, was purely exhausted...yes, he blew the pass, but if everything hadn't been on his shoulders for 40 minutes, he might have had something left. Coach Hewitt needs to be given the benefit of developing this team. Next year should show us a little bit of what to expect from him as a coach, when he has a full starting lineup that isn't dependent on freshmen, or one player....
and to the people who sit behind me at the home games and scream at the players, and those of you who leave WHEN MASON IS WINNING...and don't stay to recognize their hard work...get over yourselves....stand behind the team and the players...honestly, I'd like to see you do better......if you're only coming to find fault, stay home and yell at your TV.

10:25 AM  
Anonymous Collin Agee said...

This team has repeatedly demonstrated that they don't know how to play with a lead. They completely abandoned the aggressiveness that gave them the 24 point lead.
The Patriots shot 79% in the second half, yet still blew a 12 point halftime lead. That is almost statistically unfathomable, but happened for the reasons cited in this article.
It was also disappointing to see Eric Copes disappear in the tournament. In two games, he had no points and no assists. This from a player who was so highly touted coming out of high school. It feels like the potential is there; hopefully the light will come on for him in his remaining seasons.
And one final thought: GMU's best player is playing at Louisville.

10:31 AM  
Anonymous anonymous said...

I have given up all hope for Paul Hewitt. He's going to run the basketball program into the ground, just like he did at Georgia Tech. We are doomed until he's fired.

10:55 AM  
Anonymous Rick Jank said...

Sickening. Just when I thought I had succeeded in tempering my expectations heading into the tournament, of containing my enthusiasm, our guys go out and get that 31-7 lead, and give me hope. Suddenly, a matchup in the finals against Delaware or JMU didn’t seem that formidable. And just as suddenly that became a pipe dream.

We made the Huskies look like Havoc. Remember last year tourney where VCU stole the game from the beginning and we all said that for next year ball control would have to be a main priority? I guess there was one particular person who didn’t get the memo. At times we handled the press against – barely – and cashed in with the easy bucket. But at other times, that is the critical time at the end and during the Huskies run (media all talked about the 24 point lead, but for a 5 minute stretch (with halftime stretched inbetween) the Huskies went on a 21-0 run!) it was turnover city. During the Huskies 21-0 run, we only got 2 shots off. TWO SHOTS. At some point the Huskies adjusted to how we were bringing the ball up the court (if nothing else simply by covering the “wide receiver” we would plant just across the timeline). That is, how we would lolligag our way up the court. Surveying the field, yes, but every time leaving ourselves 5 feet short of the time line with 1 or 2 seconds left. An adventure that was, and it resulted in several “pick sixes” for the Huskies right at the critical time. Just one example of how we were outsmarted in the coaching department.

Give credit to the Huskies for not folding but turning the momentum. Draining all those threes certainly helped. But it reinforced that same old notion: whenever an opponent wants to get an open look at a 3 against us, they can get an open 3 against us.

Bryon Allen really did carry the team on his back. Dare I mention the word hope again, but it seems to me we shouldn’t be saying Sherrod is our go to guy anymore – let’s try Sherrod and Bryon as our go to guys. A little Jordan-Pippen action. But seriously, Allen should continue to develop the mindset that he can lead the team.

10:59 AM  
Anonymous Christopher Hirsch said...

Nitpick but Allen turned the ball over on our last offensive possession, not Edwards.

Not much left to say. Mason didn't adjust to Northeastern's press, all traces back to the less than average coaching this team has.

11:07 AM  
Anonymous Brandon Smith said...

5 players in double figures, gaudy offensive percentages, yet we lose...FOULS and TOs that is it. Too many dumb fouls and bad passes/lacking hands. Agree with all in the disappointment. How will this team be better next year? Is Jenkins that good? Will another year in the "system" get it to stick? Will B. Allen become the true on-floor team leader? What will change? If it is another season like this, I am not sure I can take it. So much promise, so little results. I will support them the best I can, but I just don't know what will make this team better next year. GO MASON!!!

11:22 AM  
Anonymous Collin Agee said...

I agree with some of this. But not all of it.
There is a "fan" who sits behind us to very loudly criticizes every mistake and has a visceral hatred for some of the players. Hey, these are college kids, and frankly he makes the game less enjoyable for those around him.
But I think the fans do have reason to criticize the Hewitt regime to date. Does anyone disagree that the team is not playing to the potential of their individual players and is failing to improve over the course of a season by learning from their mistakes? This is a function of coaching.
The CAA is a much dimished conference, and yet Mason struggled this year against inferior competition. And they showed a perplexing propensity for losing at home, which is not going to endear them to the fans.

11:32 AM  
Anonymous David Houck said...

It is more of the same from Hewitt. He never came close to maximizing talent and potential at GT and this team is a mirror image of that. Get him out now.

12:09 PM  
Anonymous Gundo said...

You both make good points here. It was frustrating (common word today) to watch the offense this year. It felt like the team never really found a rhythm, and relied heavily on the player with the "hot hand" to win. With the raw talent this squad has, combined with the depth of the roster, they shouldn't have to rely on just one person. That to me is a sign of the system either not working or not being executed properly, which again, falls at the coaches feet.

12:13 PM  
Anonymous gmuhoops said...

Great points Gundo, I think you hit the nail on the head

12:14 PM  
Anonymous Doug Economou said...

I just keep thinking about what could have been - On the way to the dance after dismantling Madison tonight.

Or ... how our Final Four run translated into basically nothing. Mid-major programs like VCU, Butler, Memphis and Gonzaga have all followed up on their success with more success! Where was Mason in this?

12:25 PM  
Anonymous Doug Economou said...

Lunardi has the CAA Champ as a 16-seed. Sad days for our conference.

1:50 PM  
Anonymous gmuhoops said...

He had them as the 16-seed play-in game before 20-loss Liberty won yesterday...

1:52 PM  
Anonymous Christopher Hirsch said...

Think Northeastern would get in as 16 and avoid play in game. JMU would definitely have to be in play in game.

2:07 PM  
Anonymous Sajid Khan said...

Top Ten PTC Sites Ever which you can make money online with just clicking, Best upgrade plans to make upto 10 to 15 Dollars daily without any Registration or MemberShip Charges

You can join any time from your home, just visit the website and start earning from home

Probux.Com(Best PTC Site)

2:11 PM  
Anonymous bhawan kumar said...

Online Earning opportunities to make money online from home, Internet Online Business want to make money easy now.

6:25 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Blog Counter