Mason can’t complete comeback at Auburn

auburnOTIS

George Mason found themselves down 22-2 on the road at Auburn yesterday. It was another slow start for Patriots, something that is started to become a recurring theme in their games this season. The early turnovers and fouls killed them early and like many games this year they made a big comeback in the second half. At one point they took the lead but a scoring drought after a 9-0 run to bring them back within four points left them on the losing end. Auburn’s man-to-man defense was much better than Mason’s and Otis Livingston II was struggling to get free for the most of the game. The Tigers didn’t let them in the paint much at all and as a result their offense was limited for long stretches. Jaire Grayer came up big in the second half and freshman Javon Greene had his breakout game of the year scoring 17 points and hitting five three-pointers. However, Auburn owned the glass and out-rebounded Mason 46-30 while scoring 15 second chance points.

Auburn is a very good team and I was happy to see Mason again fight their way back into this game. They kept them well under their scoring average but just struggled late to keep the momentum going on offense. Rebounding is a big takeaway from this game though. Being smaller than most of the teams they are facing this year they have to match the effort we saw last season on the boards. Grayer is really the only consistent rebounder of the group, Kier and Boyd need to help out more here.

Goanar Mar was limited in this one, Auburn definitely didn’t want him to get going. The Tigers front court players weren’t exactly huge but they were a lot for him to handle. Mar can be a big mismatch problem against some teams but that wasn’t the case yesterday. I would have liked to have seen him and Otis get to the free-throw line more but Auburn’s man defense was pretty tight.

Teams that keep Mason out of the paint have a chance to beat them, there’s no denying that. While they have good three-point shooters, most are streaky and not always consistent. Mason needs to get back to some of the magic they have last year and follow Marquise Moore’s style of attacking the paint and getting to the line. This season they just aren’t getting enough second chance opportunities and they are being pushed out of the paint by good teams.

  • Michael Nagy

    Mason may only finish .500 this year and the middle of the pack in the A-10, but I’m very excited to see this team play next year with Reuter on the floor. No doubt Mason will have tough times with bigger teams, but help is on the way.

  • Gamoo79

    Living in Richmond, all I can say is
    HOW ‘BOUT THEM LONGHORNS!!!

  • Gamoo79

    I know we’re young, but so far, this is rather disheartening.
    W&M…sigh

    • Days of Yates

      It seems like, in the early season here, our process of “gelling” as a team is a slower process than the learning curve of our opponents figuring out how to counteract our strengths while taking advantage of our lack of size. As a small, hustling team, we should be getting more on the ball steals and should be defending the perimeter a lot better.