George Mason handles Richmond for first A-10 home win

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]

 

  • StopWearingPurple

    I was going to skip the game but I was tired of yelling at those kids to get off my lawn and I couldn’t unload my season tickets but it all worked out in the end with the first home win in
    almost two months. The best part was Patrick hitting those two daggers for us and them inbounding the ball straight to Marco. It was nice to see events like that go our way for a change.

  • GaMoo79

    Glad to see BA and SW getting it done at the same time…finally.
    Can anyone say “bubble buster”? Sorry UR.
    Three games left. Winning two of them should assure us of not finishing last or tied for last. All three are winnable.

    • Bill Bride

      Yeah, I liked leaving Patriot Center knowing Richmond’s bubble was burst. Sure, they lost their leading scorer but that’s the way it goes. GW’s been without their second leading scorer Savage for six weeks now and they’ve survived. Looks like 5 from the A-10 will make it into the NCAA Tournament per Joe Lunardi.

      Anyone going to the GW – George Mason at Smith Center on Sunday? My son and I are in section 220, row F, seats 1-2 and I believe I can get some decent shots there for our site. Stop by and say hey, would love to meet some of you.

  • G-n-G

    I thoroughly enjoyed that we got to see a win first-hand and liked that Mason weathered an opponent’s frantic comeback attempt for the first time. The weakness of the team remains the defense. As shown on the website below, scroll down to the St. Louis entry. It shows that Mason has the second most efficient offense in the A-10 but the worst defense in the league.

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/college-basketball/news/20140227/power-rankings-florida-wichita-state-arizona-duke-syracuse/?eref=sihp

    In both the Duquesne and now Richmond wins, Mason benefitted from an opponent who couldn’t make enough shots. Obviously that worked twice but I wouldn’t count on it.

    In other news, because people often reference wanting to be or learn from VCU, see Shaka’s (and Hewitt’s) comments on what makes the A-10 harder than the CAA.

    http://ursports.blogs.timesdispatch.com/2014/02/25/whats-difference-caa-10/

  • Mike

    Hurray! Mason is no longer bringing up the rear of the A-10.

    If there is one thing I hope for it is that Mason can close out with winning the right number of games to be paired with VCU in the first round of the A-10 tourney, and bust their bubble with an upset.

  • GaMoo79

    Duquesne just upset SLU. not good gor us in standings.

    • Daniel Wu

      Mason should have been the first ones to have done that. Twice!
      The top six teams are trying to refine thier resumes and RPI’s to look good for a NCAA bid. The bottom half are still alive trying to get a better seed that’s not 13th or 12th and maybe make some kind of upset run in the A10 conference tourney for perhaps a controversial bid into NIT/NCAA. Happened with St. Bona in 2012 so who knows anything is possible.
      That’s the A10 right now in a nutshell, damn its competetive. The only reason why its not given the BCS label is because most of the members don’t have a DIV. I football program.

      • GaMoo79

        Dont know about you Daniel, but it still bothers me that when we win there are hardly any posts. When we lose, everybody piles on. Somethings wrong with that.
        Thanks for not being one of them!

        • Daniel Wu

          Thank you. I am still supporting Mason because Julian Royal might be the low post scorer this team needs to have a more balanced offense that doesn’t depend so much on the backcourt to score. I am looking into the future and still have hopes for progress in this season that will help next season. This is the reason why I still post and still watch most of the games.
          Everyone else has given up and are waiting for this season to be over and for Hewitt to get fired. That’s why the post are limited in wins but plenty in losses.
          One thing I would like to point out is that Mason came into the A10 in a year when the majority of the A10 teams are not rebuilding but have alot of senior players on thier team like Mason. However Mason has senior players with CAA experience. The A10 teams this year also have senior players but they have A10 experience. So I guess what I am trying to say is that Mason came into a year where the A10 teams are at thier peak with senior players being the majority. As a result Mason is having a harder time acclimating to the A10 than VCU and Richmond when they joined.
          So firing Hewitt based on this season is not fair. However the two CAA seasons have been dissapointing as well. But I think it would be best for Mason to asses Hewitt on a full cycle of his recruits or at least a cycle with majority of the recruits being his picks. One more year for me is fair. Got some good recruits coming in next season don’t want them to turn the other way becasue Hewitt got fired after this season.

          • GaMoo79

            Good post. But I still think Hewitt gets to finish out his contract. At least. Who knows with TOC on charge?
            BTW, the UR coach gave Hewitt a lot of credit for the win…making adjustments, etc.

          • GMUPATS74

            Yes I have hope. Not much, but a glimmer.

          • Daniel Wu

            Let’s just put it this way. Saying let’s fire Hewitt and kick his bum out of Mason is easy, but once you think of the process of rehiring its complicated. If we fire Hewitt now that means Skeeter will be interim head coach. Then once the college basketball season is over we have to frantically find a new coach that won’t dissapoint like Hewitt has (how exactly can you gauge that). While at the same time tell commits not to leave and that the new coach is going to appreciate your skill set and put you into his system like the previous coach that actually recruited you had planned on. Once the new coach comes in, they have a few months to get the returning players used to the new coach’s system. So the first few games of the season will be trial tests.
            Saying let’s fire Hewitt now is easier said than done. Give him another year or wait until the contract is over to decide to keep or kick him out.

          • GMUPATS74

            I agree Daniel Wu. We talked about this once on ESPN. Besides remember Tom Crean? He endured 3 miserable seasons before resurrecting Indiana. We really don’t know why this team has underachieved. Its not all the coach’s fault, some, but not all. He needs one more year before we can asses his tenure at GMU.

          • G-n-G

            Daniel — Thanks for the sober analysis. Really appreciate it. Here are some facts that back it up.

            According to KenPom’s formula, the 8 best teams in the A-10 are ranked 76th or better. Then there’s a gap and the bottom five (including Mason) are all ranked above 110. By comparison, the best CAA team (Delaware) is ranked 107. What this suggests is that this Mason squad is built to be an elite CAA team (only Delaware and Towson would be better) but in the A-10 that translates to 10th best.

            http://kenpom.com/

            As Shaka (and Hewitt) says, the players are just better in the A-10.

            http://ursports.blogs.timesdispatch.com/2014/02/25/whats-difference-caa-10/

          • GaMoo79

            Good info. I would add that the reason I would give Hewitt 2 more years is that it will take that long to see what he can do with the new class coming in and building on what we have coming back. Remember, the new guys (Royal excluded) will be freshmen.It can take a year to get them up to speed. By then all the pieces should be in place, he will be operating with a full deck of A10 players, and have new ones coming in behind the guys who will be graduating. We have been very close this year with CAA players. Just maybe that is a sign of how GOOD a coach Hewitt is.