George Mason needs to win games two and three of this series to be CBI champs after losing game one at Santa Clara. The Patriots looked sluggish in their short west coast trip and weren’t playing with the energy and intensity on defense like we saw in earlier CBI games they played. Perhaps playing in the RAC will give them a lift, after all it is where they practice and are comfortable. The atmosphere will be something they have not experienced, especially when you consider the noise level and being in such a small venue for a home game. An uptempo game, with a loud crowd on Mason’s side should be a small advantage. From what we saw in game one, the Patriots will need all the help they can get trying to slow down that Santa Clara offense. If anything the game will be a unique experience in the RAC for the team and the fans.
From the Examiner:
Former George Mason radio announcer Ric Wilson expects the Patriots to respond in a smaller facility. As a guard at GMU from 1982 to 1986, he played at both the Patriot Center and the RAC — then named the Physical Education Building.
“Quite frankly, I would have been fine not playing in the Patriot Center at all,” Wilson said. “When we played at the P.E. Building, it felt like Cameron Indoor. You can’t defeat us in that place. It was so intimate.”
Mason will need a much better effort on defense and can’t send the Broncos to the free-throw line as often as they did in the second half on Monday night. Santa Clara already has a better offense than Mason and they can’t give them free attempts like that. On the other end Santa Clara wasn’t a lock-down defensive team on Monday, Mason did make it easy though by fumbling possessions and taking ill-advised shots.
If Mason can turn early turnovers into points like they did against Houston and Western Michigan, the RAC will be electric and they will have a chance to thwart the Broncos big offensive muscle. They dictated the pace in those earlier CBI games but didn’t on Monday night.
Lastly, they need Sherrod Wright and they will struggle again if he has another off night. If he and Jonathan Arledge can both have good nights shooting the ball and getting to the line George Mason will look like a much different team they did in Santa Clara. Wright has had an up and down season in terms of scoring production but he’s yet to go three games in a row without reaching double figures. Look for him to attack the rim and make things happen for the Patriots tonight.
[Photo via @scodoe]