Paul Hewitt finally took Anali Okoloji out of the starting lineup last night against Towson, and the result was a better start on offense that set the pace for the rest of the night. I had previously talked about how I thought Corey Edwards and Bryon Allen sharing the court together could be the Patriots best options on offense. Last night they played together, along with Sherrod Wright, and looked a lot more dangerous on offense as a whole. Wright and Allen were cutting to the basket with ease and getting to the line. Allen had two ridiculous layups, one being an alley-oop that made Sportscenter (video below). Mason led for most of the game before sealing the 10 point victory. Also, Marko Gujanicic has come alive and is contributing a ton on offense. Both he and Allen could emerge as the second scorers on this team but we’ll need to see some more consistency. On defense the Patriots frustrated Jerrelle Benimon, who had been playing like a conference player of the year to date. They held him below his averages on points and rebounds and it was the difference in the game.
Rebounding took a bit of a hit with the team trotting out a mostly three-guard lineup for the night. It also didn’t help that guys like Erik Copes and Jon Arledge were in foul trouble for most of the game. Mason allowed Towson to grab way too many offensive rebounds, luckily they missed a ton of second chance points. You have to credit Mason’s defense for not allowing Benimon to feast on those second chance opportunities the Tigers kept getting. They fouled a lot as usual but didn’t let it get out of control and got to the line enough themselves.
[Video via @jholman34]
Hewitt finally shortened the rotation last night as well and basically played just eight guys. I think the Patriots are better off with a rotation similar to what we saw last night. If that lineup can stay consistent they will be much more effective on offense for the rest of the year. Problems on defense and with rebounding might prevent this lineup at times but you cannot deny the difference in offensive production.