George Mason falls in the season opener to Towson

screenshot-2016-11-13-09-27-50George Mason fell in the season opener for the third straight year last night. It was a game they should have won and despite Jalen Jenkins’ big effort, they struggled as a team on the glass and coughed up the ball too much. You can definitely tell they missed Shevon Thompson’s rebounding but they were some bright spots in the offense that was looking to push the tempo way more than we saw last season. The different lineup combinations however, with new freshmen heading in and out, did cause some erratic play at times. It’s obvious Dave Paulsen is still trying to find out who his key guys are off the bench.

Before the game I said they needed to slow down Towson senior¬†Arnaud William Adala Moto, they didn’t and it killed them in the second half. Moto scored 16 of his 22 points in the second half and Mason’s smaller lineup seemed a bit exposed, especially on the defensive end. Freshman Troy Temara, who seems like one of the most exciting new players this season didn’t get off the bench. Paulsen seemed to favor the bigger bodies of Daniel Relvao and Danny Dixon in the post. Mason gave up way too many second chance opportunities that hindered their ability to establish any sort of run.

The size difference is something we all are expected to be an issue with this season. Mason will be with a four guard lineup more often than not. Jenkins stayed out of foul trouble but if you watched Dixon and Relvao last night you have to be a bit scared of what this team will look like in games were Jenkins is on the bench in foul trouble. You can tell Paulsen was weary of keeping him out there after his first foul early in the game, which led to a quick substituition. It’s hard to tell what the smaller lineup’s offense will look like when they have an off shooting night from behind the three-point line like they did in this one. If a couple more three’s went down in the second half Mason would have taken this one.

Mason needed more from Marquise Moore, Jaire Grayer, and especially Otis Livingston II. Grayer had a tough night on defense guarding Mike Morsell and Livingston struggled from the field going 3-for-11 and 0-for-6 in the second half. They were creating their own opportunities but just not finishing. He had success driving to the lane and drawing fouls as he usually does but they needed more success shooting from the outside to overcome all their turnovers.

The big surprise of the night was freshman Justin Kier being the first guy off the bench and playing the most of all the freshmen, 24 minutes. He had a bit of the freshman jitters but you can see why he was in there as he showed some flashes of his ability to create and facilitate. Ian Boyd also saw a lot of time and like Kier you can see the ability but they just need more reps and game experience. That will be the big struggle this season, trying to integrate and use the talent of these young guys while trying to also play a different style of offense different from what worked for them last season.

Box score

  • G-n-G

    I generally agree with your analysis (would quibble about Relvao who seemed to hold his own, certainly more than Dixon), but wonder why you think Mason “should have won.” This is a Towson team with almost as many upperclassmen (8) as Mason has freshmen and sophomores (11). It’s also a team with much of the same roster that crushed Mason in MD last year. That Mason kept it competitive and led for a a decent amount of time shows how much progress the team’s made. I’m with Paulsen on this one, disappointed but not discouraged.

    http://gomason.com/sports/2015/12/2/Stats_6785.aspx

    • gmuhoops

      I think they should have won because normally Otis, who was extremely consistent last season, doesn’t go 0-6 in the second half often. Without that I think they would have won. They were also favored by most sites and betting lines and were at home. Towson is a good team though that will have a chance to win the CAA this year so this isn’t a bad loss or anything. Overall the team was a bit erratic last night in a couple of areas hopefully that was just a first game jitters type thing.

      • G-n-G

        That makes sense, I agree with you. Otis was pretty upset with his poor shooting (you could see he was still bothered long after the game ended and he was the only player on the court). I’m surprised that any betting market would favor a team of freshmen and sophomores (we’re not talking KY or Duke here) over a veteran team that thrashed them. But that’s not a mystery you created. Thanks.

  • TonyD

    Still some work to do but you can see the effort is there. I really liked what I saw from Jenkins, they need that from him if he’s going to be the guy in the middle each night. All substitutions worry me a bit, seemed like the starters should have played together a bit more.

  • Susan Clifford

    Having watched Temara in practice and intrasquad play I question why he was not challenged by Paulsen and made to play a few minutes for his board accomplishment and his aggressiveness.

    • masonfan014

      I was surprised by this as well. Could be a small internal punishment or maybe he had a bad week at practice. I wouldn’t read into it too much, he’ll definitely be on the court this year.

      • StopWearingPurple

        He wasn’t even listed on the roster. I was wondering if he was redshirting. Guess it was just some sort of “teachable moment”.

      • Susan Clifford

        I certainly hope that there is no punishment needed, but it could happen. These freshmen are new to their liberation from parents and something could be in the air. Let’s hope Temara comes around!

  • TNA Hater

    I can assure you Ryan as a manager on the team Mason will be fine they got cold in the 2nd half the Talent is there they just need to get right for conference Play they have a soft non conference schedule they have a Chance to rebound Tuesday they will team is positive on themselves defense was great last night

  • gmusigs

    Not a discouraging loss by any means. Towson has two really good seniors and will challenge UNCW in the CAA this year. I think we will shoot better from outside and this just a case of being a bit rusty and adjusting to our new lineup combinations.

  • Gunston98

    Rebounding is really going to be key this year. We don’t have great shooters but we do some good ones despite being streaky. They didn’t get killed on the boards vs Towson but they gave up a lot of second chance points that’s a bit concerning. Jenkins stayed out of foul trouble but I don’t see that happening every game. Hopefully the Dannys (Relvao, Dixon) can help in that area off the bench.

  • Chris Hirsch

    Really just hoping the guys take out their frustrations on Lebanon Valley A&M Tech State on Tuesday.

  • Leedy1896

    Is it just me or did the Mason shorts seem a little shorter and tighter than before? It will be interesting to see if other schools with the same manufacturer have the same look.

    • ScottRandall

      Some of the guys, like Otis, just prefer to wear the old school shorter shorts I believe. Or maybe it is just the adidas style, not sure, but I think it’s a player preference.

  • Days of Yates

    I agree with the factors discussed, but I think the overarching (pun intended) factor was simply our failure to knock down jumpshots, even those that were “good looks.” Hopefully curable, especially given it’s a young team in its first game.