George Mason bounced back from an awful home performance against Northeastern and took down William & Mary in their first road conference game. Sherrod Wright continues to look like a CAA POY candidate and poured on 28 points. The Patriots won this one by getting to the free-throw line a lot and won the rebounding battle, while limiting the Tribe’s three-point attack. They were down at times and had some bad stretches, but in this one they didn’t let the other team run away with it when the momentum didn’t swing their way. Sherrod Wright’s play was infectious and the rest of the team played as tough and aggressive as he did down the stretch. Wright had nearly a perfect game with the only exception being getting a dumb taunting technical foul during a TV timeout.
Paul Hewitt experimented with the lineup and at times had both Corey Edwards and Bryon Allen on the court at the same time. I for one liked it because Allen is excellent at driving to the basketball and Edwards is becoming at good facilitator. A lineup that includes Edwards-Allen-Wright could be Mason’s optimal lineup going forward.
I think the Patriots have found a rotation that works better and it starts with Corey Edwards at the point. Over the last four games his assist-to-turnover ratio is 2.7, something I don’t think Bryon Allen ever accomplished with nearly a whole year of starting at the point. Mason proved how dangerous they can be driving to the lane and it’s something I’ve been harping on for some time. When they do this they get to the line and make other teams pay. They aren’t a consistent outside shooting team and they don’t have much of a post presence, so this is always going to be their best option to put points on the board.
Defensively they still gave up a couple of big runs to the Tribe and lately we’ve been seeing them give up too many fast break points. The bigs are still having trouble handling the ball and passing. Erik Copes basically had a pick-six yesterday with a terrible pass that was intercepted and converted into two easy points. Johnny Williams and Jon Arledge played a more disciplined game and didn’t kill the Patriots with dumb fouls. Williams did end up fouling out but he at least stayed in the game longer this time and added nine points. The front court also let the Tribe’s Tim Rusthoven beat them to too many loose balls and easy baskets.
What to take away from this one is that Mason bounced back and played well down the stretch to close out a good road win. They still showed some of the same problems but the difference was Sherrod took the team on his back. Can’t expect him to do this every night and I wonder how they would respond to an off shooting performance by him but they certainly look good when he’s hot.