Previewing George Mason vs Rhode Island

George Mason is looking to rebound from an 0-2 road trip as they host Rhode Island tomorrow. Although URI is an A-10 opponent this game won’t count as a conference one, due to the fact that this is the end of a three-year series started before Mason joined the conference. The Patriots have won both meetings in this series but they have also been very close games. This is probably the Rams’ best team in the series to date and I would expect another close one. URI only has losses to SMU and Arizona and have been steadily improving since Dan Hurley arrived as head coach. Leading scorer Xavier Munford returns, you may remember him from last year as he dropped 24 points on Mason. They also have a legit inside presence in 6’8″ forward Gilvydas Biruta, so it’s a good thing Erik Copes is finally returning.

Both teams are similar, they each turnover the ball at a pretty high rate and they both get to the free-throw line often. On paper Mason has the better offense but they also did against Princeton and despite refs having a happy whistle, they couldn’t take advantage. If both Mason and URI are attacking the rim and a lot of fouls are being called it could be a very close game. The Patriots can’t let things get out of hand like they did against Princeton and need to control tempo right from the start. That all starts with taking care of the ball.

Erik Copes returning should help out on defense but I’d imagine he’s going to be rusty. However, his presence alone in the lane greatly helps them out because Johnny Williams and Marko Gujanicic haven’t been great defending there. Also those two have been responsible for a lot of turnovers and perhaps Copes can bring some steady hands in the post.

Dan Hurley’s strategy on defense involves a lot of ball pressure so Mason’s turnover problem could be exposed once again. They need to do a better job making better decisions in the first halves of games because that’s when this problem has been the worst. Finding a way to get the offense going early has plagued them this season as well and that is linked to this problem.

This game will be televised on MASN.

  • Kyle Stegner

    Mason must win this game. Hewitt should put Marquise Moore as their starting point guard if they want a good tempo on offense early. Corey Edwards was doing pretty well in the CBI tournament. But he’s not the same player anymore for some reason, for the best its time to bench him.

  • Matt Cerilli

    “Copes” and “Steady Hands” shouldn’t ever be used in the same sentence.

    • Kyle Stegner

      Even if he does not have steady hands, his size/height makes it difficult for post players on the opposing team to score points. The new NCAA rules might get Copes in early foul trouble though. We’ve only lost two games and its early in the season. I’m hoping that those two losses wouldn’t have happened if Erik Copes and Jonathan Arledge were available (expecially the one against Princeton) and its the main reason for those losses.

  • Rock

    For sure Hewitt needs to shake up the line-up. why not start Copes, Marco and Jenkins. we have to get a better defensive performance from the whole team if we are to compete. I agree that Marquis Moore needs to start with Edwards off the bench. He has lost confidence and needs to think about his play. He seldom penetrates the perimeter, choosing to just pass off as soon as he crosses the mid court line. With little scoring from the front line I think that Sherrod and Allen need to take the ball to the basket as often as possible.
    I just think coach needs to get these guys to wake up, they look lethargic and unmotivated. Maybe the patriot center crowd. especially students can get them back on course.

    • David Houck

      Never confuse Marko with better defense

  • gmu2009

    I’m starting to realize how unimpressive the first 4 wins actually were. For the most part those are some very awful teams. Then when Mason finally had to face two slightly more challenging opponents, Iona and Princeton, well we know the results. Going forward I’m not sure how optimistic I should be or how much emotion I should have invested in this season…hmmm

    • Kyle Stegner

      I’m concerned too, but I’m hoping its only because Erik Copes and Jonathan Arledge were not available. They are playing like a 10th place team for now, but its too early to tell if it will continue the rest of the season. I sure hope they don’t finish in 10th place, for now I still believe its possible that they can make either an NCAA or NIT appearance. In the past a Mason squad led by seniors would either make a NCAA or NIT. Still hoping it happens this year.

      • gmu2009

        Good point. I really hope they do make the NCAA’s this year as I think it’s critical for recruitment going forward.

  • Quel Esteve

    is there a free streaming link to the game ??