George Mason and Thompson too much for Wright State

wsu 1223

Paul Hewitt’s recruiting efforts deserve some credit here because he’s brought in some guys that can flat out play. Shevon Thompson and Isaiah Jackson were stars in George Mason’s win over Wright State last night in a game they controlled right from the tip. They led by as much as 17 points, dominated the boards and used their size and athleticism to overwhelm the Raiders. For the second straight game Mason shot the ball well from the field and generally had better ball movement then we’ve seen. The most important stat for the Patriots though is 17 assists, their highest total of the season not counting the Catawba game. While Marquise Moore and Patrick Holloway didn’t light up the scoreboard they combined for 9 of those assists. This is a formula that can work for them, lots of ball movement, points in the paint, tough rebounding, and scoring points off turnovers.

We have seen what happens when this team takes too many outside jumpers. Now this style that we have seen over the last two games of imposing their game plan on an opposing team is fun to watch. Shevon Thompson was scoring with such ease at times against Wright State and Isaiah Jackson was tough to stop in the lane. Offensive rebounding continues to be a big key for them as Thompson is currently leading the nation in that category and helps clean up some of Mason’s mistakes.

As Thompson’s game improves, which it’s looking like it’s going to, he will hopefully start getting opposing front court players into foul trouble. He’s aggressive but could be more so with some of his post moves. Mason has done a good job isolating him in the post and feeding him the ball. It would be nice to see this create more outside shots for his teammates but they still fail to be consistent shooting the ball from long range.

Overall they could use more balance on scoring but the important thing is that they aren’t blowing leads and playing with more discipline. They will get a huge test at Oklahoma on the 31st before Atlantic 10 play.

  • mkaufman1

    Not much else to say other than it was a really nice win on the road. I’m glad the team has played some good basketball the last several games and hope it continues. They have been a joy to watch compared to the first few games of the year.

  • GaMoo79

    Yes, Ryan, Thompson, et al, could indeed save Hewitt’s job if this continues. Personally, I don’t care who the coach is, so long as we win. The question is, is Hewitt the best coach we can get to produce a consistently high caliber team? For instance, let’s say we actually do pretty well in conference play. Could we have done even better with a better coach? Decisions still have to be made.
    I continue to be concerned about Holloway’s shooting, and Jenkins’ decline.
    Having said all that, though, a very nice Christmas present for Mason fans!

    • Leedy1896

      Is Jenkins’ decline a redshirt-sophomore slump or are other people just taking up the slack this season? There wasn’t much of an option last year.

      • mkaufman1

        While Jenkins hasn’t been scoring much this year (outside of Manhattan), he still rebounds and passes the ball well. He had 7 boards last night to go with a few assists.

      • G-n-G

        I suspect that part of his and Holloway’s early struggles have been, in part, attributable to defenses keying on them. With the emergence of Thompson, Moore, and possibly Jackson this might open things up for Patrick and Jalen more. In fact Patrick had 3-4 wide open 3s late in yesterday’s game. I think Shevon’s inside presence and the ability of Marquise and Isaiah to drive will open more more looks for Patrick. Jalen seems like he’s too much in a hurry sometimes. If he focuses on rebounding and solid defense and, to mirror Hewitt’s description of Shevon, keeps things simple then he’ll be ok.

    • G-n-G

      GaMoo, your counterfactual is interesting (they always are, being the backbone of sports discussion) but ultimately unknowable, as you well know. Are there better coaches than Hewitt? Of course. Are there worse ones? Definitely. Is Mason in the running for someone better than him? Debatable. We play in a good conference coming of a great year. Have decent fan support. But also are at best the fourth biggest program in the area.

      A question I’ve been meaning to throw out to the crowd is names of really good assistants at solid programs who might be ready to make the leap to the head job. Watching a lot of non-Mason games lately there are some nice programs (Xavier, etc.) that game commentators think have some promising assistants, so I wanted to hear people’s ideas.