George Mason endures a heartbreaking loss to New Mexico

It is the next morning and I am still in shock on how the closing moments of last night’s game unfolded. Inbounding the ball against New Mexico was a problem all night for George Mason and it was painful to watch them cough it up again with 11 seconds on the clock and the Lobos down two. Watch the comeback again here:

A heartbreaking loss for a Mason team that did a lot of things right last night. Sherrod Wright looked like the guy we had hoped he would be and freshman Patrick Holloway drained some key three-pointers again. Johnny Williams was tough on the boards and Erik Copes presence was felt in the middle. This was the best the team has looked so far this season and it was a tough way to lose but this is college basketball and it happens.

But despite being in position to put this game away late in the second half the Patriots were still riddled by the same problems we’ve been seeing. They narrowly won the turnover battle but coughed it up at the worst possible times it seemed. The inbounding problems undid them at the end and previously had killed momentum they started to build on offense. Having runs negated by turnovers on the inbounds pass is something you just can’t let happen. Another problem for them was again perimeter defense. On the season the Patriots have allowed their opponents to collectively shoot over 41% from behind the three-point line and it has been killing them in the second half this season. Overall New Mexico shot 50% from behind the arch and 44% from the field, it’s tough win no matter how many shots you’re making when you yield those kind of numbers on defense.

Mason now plays Quinnipiac tonight, a team that took UConn to two overtimes last night.

Game Highlights:

  • James Hubbard

    Hard game to watch, in the end. In many ways a credible effort. Many positives, but a few key negatives. GMU needs to move the ball inside more consistently. Copes, Arledge, and Okoloji combined for zero points in 31 minutes. Gujanicic added only another 2 in 22 minutes. Not good. Even Williams, who played well again, rarely got the ball where he could do something with it in close. Similarly the half court offense is, at this point, dysfunctional. GMU scored when someone made a good individual effort, not when a series of passes produced an easy scoring opportunity. Can’t win without some easy baskets in close.

    Perimeter defense suffers in part because neither Arledge nor Okoloji (nor Williams) can play defense against a small forward type. Vaughans played a lot and reasonably well. He or Gray (how deep in the doghouse is he?) probably need to start and play even more. Bennett probably needs to play more too. The ball moves much better when he is in the game. And his defense is pretty good too.

    Hard to play efficient basketball with more than an 8-man rotation. There’s a reason really efficient teams consistently play 6 or 7 at most in many games. Don’t envy Hewitt trying to shorten the rotation, however. Probably needs to go smaller than he has so far this season.

  • Stephen Lynch

    That should have been a W, but it is what it is. Hopefully they can come back tonight and get some revenge. 

  • Andy Minor

    The way I see it, Mason didn’t deserve to beat Mercer and they did, and Mason did deserve to beat New Mexico and they didn’t.  Good lesson for this young roster: the game giveth and the game taketh away.

    What I am mad about (beyond the obvious turnovers and poor perimeter defense) is that Hewitt’s defensive scheme and offensive scheme are often at odds with one another.  We either play great D and win games 54-52, or we shoot the ball well and win 76-73.  Gone are the days of getting a 12-18 point lead and holding it with smart shooting and solid D.  Once this team gets a lead, they slack up on D; if they are behind, all the sudden shots start pouring in.  Hewitt doesn’t seem to be able to motivate on both sides of the floor.  I thought that was a side effect of having to mold his system around Pearson/Morrison last season, but after 4 games it’s apparent that he doesn’t make the necessary adjustments to win games comfortably and consistently.  Let’s hope I’m wrong and this is all early-season jitters.

    This team is so deep and talented there’s no reason why they can’t make a successful season and at least (AT LEAST) win a few NIT games.  I’m really getting sick of watching the same mistakes happen every week.

  • Masonfansince03

    Did anyone else not notice the bs goaltending call in the first half that should have been reviewed, or the snell guy having his foot on the women’s three point line and the play not being reviewed, which was shortly after the other coach whined about Holloway’s three point shot that caused the ref’s to spend 5 minutes reviewing the play?  You take those three points away that shouldn’t have been, and Mason wins!  I know, too late now, but pisses me off after I was saying that if we win, great, but if we lose, we better lose by 4 or more, and look what happened!  frustrating to say the least!  While I think the opposing coach complained way too much, sometimes you have to complain to get calls to go your way, I think Coach Hewitt needs to start complaining a little more!  That ending SUCKED! 

  • birdman33

    it was a very tough game to take. but its an early season learning opportunity for the young guys. but im still not impressed at all with whatever offense it is that hewitt is attempting to run. with coach L we knew what were getting. With hewitt it seems to me a similar nba style one on one, the same thing he did at georgia tech. the defense is there as seen by the first few games of the season thus far. i am much more concerned about the offense and their habit of going on 5 minute scoring slumps. sure you can get away with it now against lesser opposition. but just wait until we play drexel and other high power offenses.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/DIJUDJCZX6XBVQCSYJGIM5ZYYM virgil

    This dude can’t coach…period and the only one coach on the coaching staff with a clue is coach Houston but the other coaches are straight JOKES.  You will all see that HEWITT is a joke and the only one that brought his BS is TOC.  This team will not be playing in MARCH…not as long as Allen is on the PT.  I said last year that HEWITT can not coach….and for Vaughn Gray….get out of there while you have two years left.

  • Christopher Hirsch

    Pretty shocking loss and a major missed opportunity to get a good win should we need an at-large bid in March. Some very good things, Patrick Holloway looks like the truth, but turnovers continue to be an issue.

    Confident the team can put this aside and beat a tough Quinnipiac team tonight. 1-2 in this tournament would be very disappointing.

  • BoredInClass

    What does Vaughn Gray have to do with it? He is too busy getting suspended for weed to care. Allen should absolutely start at the point. The major beef I have is with Hewitt having the smallest player inbound the ball against a lengthy inbound defender who they can not see over or around.

  • Rick Jank

    Holloway just needed to inbound that ball high to Williams.  The defender picked off the pass like an out pattern in a football game.  Allen making the 1-1 foul shot toward the end would have probably been the difference also.  That Lobo 30 foot rainbow shot for 3 was a prayer answered.
    And then later, after reading a post reminding us that UConn could lose and then have to play us on Monday, I turned the tv back to the PJam, just in time to see Quinnipiac’s lead evaporate into overtime and the loss.

    Hopefully, the double overtime exhausted Quinnipiac and we breeze by them tonight.  That game looks like a nothing to gain, plenty to lose affair for us. 

  • Rick Jank

    Agree about the passing.  Other than passing to get an open 3, they were ineffective.  I was hoping Copes might make a difference inside, but he looked painfully out of step with the ball.  Hopefully a rust thing.  Arledge has been in a complete funk the past couple of games.