George Mason falls to Iowa State

12-23-2013 7-37-08 AM

George Mason fell to Iowa State in the first round of the Diamond Head Classic on Sunday. The Patriots were able to slow down the Cyclones and hold them to their second lowest scoring total of the season but it just wasn’t enough. They ended the first half with only four turnovers and down only five. This was all despite Sherrod Wright being mostly invisible. In the second half Iowa State was finally able to force the pace and their balanced attack was too much for Mason to compete with. The Patriots sent them to the line for 22 free-throws in the second half and that was all she wrote.

Despite some of Mason’s usual problems biting them in the second half (turnovers), they played pretty well in this one. They didn’t come away with the win but defensively they kept Iowa State in check. The 2-3 zone they were running for most of the game gave the Cyclones some problems held their three-point shooting below average. Overall the zone defense was working for them and keep in the mind, ISU is one of the most efficient teams on offense in the country. Paul Hewitt’s willingness to stay in a zone is definitely an encouraging sign moving forward.

On offense Sherrod Wright struggled mightily. His only two points came from the free-throw line in the first half. This is two consecutive games for him where he failed to reach double digit scoring. Hewitt was quick to bench him and while Bryon Allen and Patrick Holloway paced Mason it just wasn’t enough. Early in the game Mason looked like they were exposing ISU’s interior defense getting easy buckets from Marko Gujanicic, Erik Copes, and Johnny Williams. It was non-existent in the second half.

It was interesting to see Anali Okoloji play so much more than Vaughn Gray, especially considering he’s fresh off a suspension. They were in need of some offense with Wright struggling and that’s not exactly what Okoloji brings.

Again Marquise Moore played a considerable amount of minutes more than starter Corey Edwards. He’s still making those freshman mistakes but I continue to like what I see from him.

I said before the game I wasn’t expecting a win but I was hoping to see some fight from these guys. I think we saw that but the question remains is this an actual sign of the team moving forward. Was what we saw in this game what they need to do to compete in the Atlantic 10 this year?

Mason will face Oregon State today at 2:30 pm.


  • G-n-G

    The good: the zone worked pretty well until ISU made halftime adjustments, the transition defense wasn’t perfect but was better than against Oklahoma, Patrick Holloway, Marquise Moore’s willingness to shoot makes him more dangerous as a passer (something Corey Edwards hasn’t grasped yet), Bryon Allen’s aggressiveness (I only recall one shot he took super early in the shot clock), and they never lost heart/got rattled as they did against Oklahoma. In all, they looked for most of the game as though they could play at the level of a ranked team. They have less margin for error, but they aren’t out-classed.

    The bad: shared the ball well in the first half but then the assists dried up, missed 4-5 point-blank shots, Sherrod and Corey combined to give Mason nothing, and foul shooting (when trailing you have to make them at a high percentage).

  • mkaufman1

    Can someone explain to me the point of the “Pressure the ball defender, run back to play defense” approach especially late in the game? I understand ISU plays fast and probably would have sliced the press, but why not try it more than the 1 or 2 times they did, especially when it was within 5 points?

    • GMU2008

      I’ll explain it to you, it’s a defense run by a coach who has no idea what he is doing.

      But in all seriousness it seemed they were trying to get creative with their pressure, I agree it looked unusual. Don’t understand it either.

      • mkaufman1

        Yeah haha I could chalk it up to either one of those things. And I do think it was probably the fear of letting ISU get easy baskets. But at the same time, why not take the risk and try to get a steal or something? The one or two times they did it, ISU had a lot of trouble with it.

  • TonyD

    Even when they play well, they can’t maintain it for 40 minutes. Same problems over and over again. They just aren’t any good on offense, hard to win when it’s that difficult to consistently score points.