Jerrelle Benimon destroyed the Patriots and got 22 of his career-high 31 points in the first half. Mason held him scoreless for a long period in the second and half and mounted their comeback, very similar to last Saturday’s game against William & Mary. But this time they fell short in overtime. Erik Copes had a career night as well but Mason really could have used more of Sherrod Wright, especially late in the game. Copes’ hard work was a big factor all night and he added 13 points to go along with his 15 rebounds. He and Jonathan Arledge gave the Patriots a good attack in the front court but it wasn’t enough to make up for their poor efforts on defense. Benimon got way too much freedom in the first half and Towson was in control almost the entire game.
Mason seems to love the drama at home and boy did they make this one interesting down the stretch. It looked like it was over with about a minute and half to go and the Patriots trailing 76-69. Patrick Holloway then hit a three-pointer with about 50 seconds to go, and Towson went 1-of-2 on free-throws to make it 77-72. Holloway sank another three-pointer, stole the ball on the inbound pass and got the ball to Anali Okoloji who got to the line. He made 1-of-2 from the line and the Tigers answered back with two made free-throws on the other end. Seconds remained and Mason took the ball down the court and fed the ball to Holloway again, only he missed this time. Arledge grabbed the miss and kicked it out to Okoloji for this three-point shot that tied it up:
It was more of the same on defense for Mason last night. Wide open looks on the perimeter were plentiful for the Tigers and Mason would have been blown out if Towson didn’t go a bit cold in the second half. Fouls came back to haunt them and the overall lack of discipline was again evident. Sherrod Wright disappearing again certainly didn’t help. Overall Mason’s offense has improved lately and they don’t need to lean on Wright as much but their defense continues to be the team’s achilles heel.
[Photos by Bill Bride]