Jonathan Arledge posted another career-high last night, 21 points, and helped George Mason complete the season sweep of Old Dominion. With the Monarchs headed to Conference USA next year this was the last meeting of the two programs as CAA opponents, although I imagine they will keep the series alive. The Patriots won this one by dominating the boards and their efforts since the disaster against Drexel have been much improved. As bad as ODU has been this season it was still very encouraging to see Mason’s sometimes choppy offense build a big lead in the second half without much of anything from Sherrod Wright. And while Wright didn’t reach double digits for only the third time this season, Mason may have found their prime second scoring option in Arledge. Last night Arledge became the only other Mason player besides Wright this season to score 10 or more points in three consecutive games. He can be tough to defend when he gets going, his long arms allow him to score from multiple sports on the floor and in transition. He’s also one of the reasons for the Patriots big success from the foul line recently. Over the last three games Mason has gone 57 for 68 from the line (83.8%), with Arledge going a perfect 17-17 from there in that span. I’ve been saying all season that their biggest strength on offense is getting to the line often and converting and they will need to keep this up to have any chance of winning the CAA this season.
Sherrod Wright might have only scored nine points but he was a big part of the Mason’s rebounding margin. He had nine rebounds, of which five were on the offensive glass, helping to set the tone for the Patriots. It was encouraging to see them not give up on any possession and out-work the Monarchs all night long. Also on offense Corey Edwards and Bryon Allen shared the court for lot of minutes and combined for 13 assists on the night. A lot of them were to Patrick Holloway who once again found his shooting stroke, let’s hope it lasts. Corey Edwards also shot the ball more, which is a very good thing as he’s been shooting over 60% from behind the three-point line this year.
It was a good confidence booster for Mason as they now take on Delaware at home and Drexel on the road for their next two. Their best bet going forward will be trying to secure the #2 or #3 seed in the CAA tournament. Winning these next two will be important as the standing are becoming a bit of a log jam after Northeastern. The road wins this year have been great but Mason needs to take care of business on their home court in the next couple of weeks.
In related news it appears Blaine Taylor is out at ODU:
#odu has scheduled press conference for today to announce departure of coach Blaine Taylor, per source.
— Ed Miller (@edmillervp) February 5, 2013
Official release from ODU on Taylor’s firing. It was about more than just wins and losses apparently but they won’t comment further.