George Mason didn’t lead in this game until about two minutes remaining. It was another ugly performance but also another strong outing from Sherrod Wright. His buzzer-beater had to remind fans of last February when he hit a very similar shot to give Mason a home win over VCU. Credit Corey Edwards for getting the ball to Wright on that last shot, something Bryon Allen hasn’t done well at the end of games this season. The Patriots put together a strong second half after a poor start in the first. Richmond was left open way too much on the perimeter and went 8-12 from behind the arch in the first half. On top of that Mason kept fouling and giving the Spiders plenty of opportunity to tack on to their lead. They came out with a different game plan in the second half and it worked.
For the first time this season the Patriots corrected a huge problem in the first half and clawed back for the win. They were much better on the perimeter in the second half, Sherrod Wright especially, and turned turnovers into points. They turned over the ball 17 times but got 20 points off the Spider’s 19 and that was really the difference for Mason in this one. The Patriots’ defense helped keep the Spiders from hitting anything from the field over last seven minutes, which allowed them to eventually take the lead late. The key was focusing their attention on Richmond’s two best shooters, who were doing a lot of damage in the first half. Paul Hewitt made the adjustment and the team executed it well
|Photo via misibel|
The Patriots offense is still living and dying by Sherrod Wright, which as you can see isn’t always a bad thing. However the lack of production from the post players really hurt them early. They had an advantage over Richmond in this area but Johnny Williams, Marko Gujanicic, and Erik Copes all struggled. The amount of passes they bobbled or lost was staggering and they mostly just couldn’t finish around the rim. Jon Arledge came alive in the second and had some key baskets late in the game. Here is where Mason’s depth helps but you just don’t always know who is going to give you production from the forward spots on any given day.
Mason needed this win to remind themselves that they are the best in the CAA. Richmond had already beaten William & Mary, ODU, UNCW and James Madison. Now George Mason is 2-0 against the A10 this season. It was also a good win for them because they fought back and didn’t give up against a good team. Coming out in the second half and executing the adjustments by the coaching staff was something very encouraging to watch. I have felt like early in the year against teams like BU and Rhode Island they failed to do this and it nearly cost them the games. A good team finds a way to win even when they aren’t playing well and we have continued to see George Mason do just that.