VCU pulls away from George Mason in A-10 opener

VCU grayer

George Mason unraveled in the second half to fall to VCU in the Atlantic 10 opener last night. Both teams started off shooting cold but early turnovers plagued Mason early. Not that this should be a surprise considering the Rams have been turning over Mason for years now. With 14 minutes to play in the second half Mason did manage to cut the lead to six but VCU went on a big run after that to run away with it. It’s easy to say that the freshmen will sometimes play like freshmen but as a matter of fact 13 of Mason’s 22 turnovers came from Moore, Jenkins, Royal, and Thompson.

Shevon Thompson continues to be a rebounding machine but also a liability on the offensive end. They struggle to get him the ball high and even when he is in position he stumbles or mishandles the possession. We all know he’s not nearly assertive enough in the post for someone his size but now we are really seeing him disrupt the offense. Sad to say but if they had any other options on bench outside of Julian Royal I think we’d see him on the bench more. Early in the season teams were focusing on Thompson more and it opened things up for the guards. We saw them have great success with this in the Charleston Classic but now teams have switched strategies.

With Marko Gujanicic still sidelined with the academic issue the depth is even more¬†shallow than before. This is a game were some of the younger guys who struggled early on would have been pulled but they had no one else to put in. Otis Livingston has been the team’s most consistent player and DeAndre Abram and Jaire Grayer have shown flashes but all have a ways to go in their development, especially on defense.

Right now given the roster situation games like this should not surprise anyone. They simply don’t have the horses to compete in a game or an atmosphere like that. The rebuild continues.

  • dsnjd1

    To put the best light on last nights game…..its good to lose because the other team has superior talent….rather than to lose with (consistently) with superior talent weighed-down by possibly the worst coach in college basketball. Things are looking up.

    • G-n-G

      One of the commentators quoted Paulsen as saying that he’s had to deal with more discipline problems this year than in any of his previous 21 years as a coach. That’s one of the bigger indictments of Hewitt that I’ve heard.

  • Chris Hirsch

    Mason’s goal the rest of the season, just be competitive in one road game, not win, just be competitive.

    • G-n-G

      That’s probably the right measuring stick. They just don’t have the skill or experience yet to get back into a road game that starts to get away from them.

  • Benjamin

    If we could just focus on the turnovers… ouch it was painful yesterday.

  • mkaufman1

    Maybe in two years Mason and VCU will play a game where Mason doesn’t lose by 10+

  • G-n-G

    I had some hope that the new year/semester would bring a fresh start for Marko. Apparently not. I know the original suspension notice called it “indefinite”. Is that really true or is there a number (like Holloway’s 6 games) that people just aren’t talking about?

    Ryan, I’m not questioning Paulsen’s decision in this case, but do you think it’s possible to get a little more out of the staff, team, or department about: 1) when Marko might be back, 2) what it would take to get him back, and 3) what sort of progress he’s making?

  • steven times

    Why do we keep bashing the veteran players? It definitely can’t help boost their confidence. We can’t win unless thes guys come to life. Not once have i heard that Shevon is having major problems with his foot, which has limited his mobility. Jenkins, as we all know can play with anyone in the A10 when his head is in the game. Royal has just returned, so he gets a pass. Marquise is by far our most consistant player. He leads us in scoring, assist, blockshots and second in steals. He is also the best defender on the team. The freshman have played well at times, the most consistant has been Livingston by far. The problem is, they all have trouble guarding people. Livingston will struggle in the A10 guarding people, hes quick but lacks the physical strength to compete with the bigger stronger guards, but i do like the kids confidence!

  • dsnjd1

    I think Ryan Kish’s summary above perfectly encapsulates the program’s current condition:”[Mason] simply does not have the horses to compete in a game or atmosphere” like they faced at VCU. Its hard to face reality like that,….especially when it involves a loss to what has become a greatest rival…. but that is reality. I compare the current condition of Mason’s program to that of Maryland after Bob Wade. Gary Williams returned to his alma mater, not only find the program in a shambles, but quickly also additionally faced NCAA sanctions which decimated the program further. It may not get worse before it gets better, because as accurately stated “we simply don’t have the horses to compete in a game or atmosphere like that…”….yet.

  • G-n-G

    I guess no one wants to talk about last night’s game, where like the VCU game the team made a second half run to get to 6 down before running out of gas. When I saw in the program that Bonnaventure has three players averaging 16-17 ppg I feared it could be a long night unless someone (Abram, Murrell, or the somewhat disappeared Graire) got hot.

    • WB

      Yup I agree totally, need one of those guys hitting from the outside. Grayer has definitely lost his confidence, but understandable for a Freshman. Overall, I thought they hung in there well, never quit. St. Bonaventure just had too many good scorers for us to match. Posley was knocking down shots. It’s nice to see Marko back, I think he’s a nice glue guy for the squad.