George Mason had a halftime lead of 21 points last night against Richmond and it looked like it was going to be another one of those games as the Spiders clawed back in the second half. With the help of Patrick Holloway’s outside shooting they closed out the under-maned Richmond squad for their first official Atlantic 10 home win. Once again we saw just an eight man rotation and the Patriots intent on working the ball inside the paint. They finished the game dominating the points in the paint stat category 46 to 20. All night Richmond tried to get back into it with a barrage of three-pointers but couldn’t find their mark. But the real stat of the night for the Patriots was their turnovers, as they finished with under 10 for the first time this season.
The short player rotation and the absence of guys like Corey Edwards, Anali Okoloji, and Vaughn Gray seems to be signs of things to come for next season. Paul Hewitt’s rotations didn’t make sense to a lot of us early in the season but what they are running now seems to be the most optimal game plan. It’s good to see Holloway being a more consistent force on offense because him by himself essentially represents the returning back court scoring heading into next season.
Erik Copes’ contributions continues to be scattered but at least he’s not fouling out of games lately. Meanwhile Jalen Jenkin continues to be a rebounding force for Mason. The team is still desperate for a consistent low post scorer outside of Jenkins who has only reached double figures twice in the last seven games.
Games like this continue to show Mason hasn’t given up on the season and that they will need to ride on the shoulders of Bryon Allen and Sherrod Wright to make any noise in the conference tournament.
[photos by Bill Bride]