Struggles continue for Mason

BasketballLivingston1_RonAira-CreativeServices-770x375George Mason have only won twice in of their last seven games including a loss last night to Georgia Southern. Mason looked bad on both ends, turning over the ball 21 times (!) and shooting 28% from the field and 17% on three-pointers. Otis Livingston II and Grayer combined for 12 points, difficult for Mason to get anything going with each of these guys having an off night. AJ Wilson came in and played a lot of good minutes and picked up his first career double-doubleĀ (13 pts, 10 reb) and we saw Kier being more assertive on offense. It still appears that Dave Paulsen is figuring things out with this year’s limited roster but right they really seem to lack perimeter defense and a go-to scorer on offense.

Heading into this season I knew we’d see games like this when both Otis and Grayer aren’t on for that particular night. The freshmen are improving but are still providing spotty performances here and there. Justin Kier and Ian Boyd are starting to look like they don’t know their roles on this team and that’s something Paulsen needs to fix before conference play begins.

On offense I don’t really understand what they are trying to do. They seem to settle for jumpers way too often and always pull back on fast break opportunities. I get that Paulsen wants to play a slow tempo given the depth but I don’t see how they are going to put points on the board if this continues. They are an average three-point shooting team at best and don’t really have a go to shooter. I’d rather see them take the risk of a few early fouls and drive to the basket more for points and more free-throw attempts. That to me seems like the strength of this team. If you’re forced to play small ball, why not really embrace the small ball on offense?

Post game video from Georgia Southern game:

  • Gamoo79

    I’m, of course, disappointed in the way things are going right now, but as coach said, height, girth, muscle, available players, and youth are all against us right now.

    I see why DP referred to this as a two year team. Will be interesting to see how all this unfolds (and hopefully, improves) the rest of this season and next.

  • Masonfan01

    Paulsen said at the beginning of the year there would be ups and downs but always effort on the court each night. Not sure I really saw the effort last night and they mostly looked unprepared.

  • Grad2003

    I agree with Ryan on the whole embracing small ball strategy. Would these guys really be that winded by halftime if they just played a little more aggressive and uptempo? Seems like they are really holding back. But it all comes down to Otis and Grayer, we go as they go, and they don’t have a strong enough supporting cast to overcome both of them playing mediocre.

  • TonyD

    Worst home loss i’ve ever witnessed, they unforced turnovers were crazy bad in this one.

  • StopWearingPurple

    They looked flat from the tip. It also looked like Paulson was trying different offenses. I could swear at one point they were doing some sort of Princeton style motion offense.

  • Foolsrushin63

    Coach is right about the problems, but I agree with Ryan, why try to play a style that doesn’t match the personnel and skill set? We can run the floor pretty well and, while scoring can be spotty, this is one of the better finishing teams we have had in a while. Need to push the tempo especially against the teams that will kill us inside if we play in the set all the time. The bench, Kier and Boyd also need to step up. Right now recipe to beat us to obvious — on offense — pound the ball inside, hit the offensive boards — on defense force us to shoot from the perimeter. The games we have won this year have been a result of us either shooting lights out or teams inexplicably not even trying for offensive rebounds.

  • Gamoo79

    I was really hoping, based on body type, that Boyd would turn into a Moore type player. So far though, I’ve been disappointed in his development

    • G-n-G

      Ian isn’t as dominant today as Marquise was last year, but their sophomore year stats aren’t that different:

      Marquise per game stats: 30 minutes, 3.1 baskets made, .2 3-pointer made, 3 FT made, 3.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists, .9 steals, 2.3 TOs, 9.5 points

      Ian per game stats: 28 minutes, 3.4 baskets made, 1 3-pointer made, .8 FT made, 5.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists, .8 steals, 1.9 TOs, 8.5 points

      • Gamoo79

        Thanks for the comparison. Very true about their similarities.
        Really hoping Boyd can start putting it all together.

  • Gamoo79

    I didn’t expect us to beat PSU, but it really looks like this team is regressing. Is it players? Coaching? What gives?
    Looking more and more like the days of the last regime to me.
    Anybody with insight, please tell me I’m wrong. Seriously, I really do want to feel better about all this.

    • G-n-G

      The team seems to have regressed on 3-point shooting. Earlier in the year they could count on Jaire, Otis, and one of the following–Goanar, Ian, or AJ–to be a third shooter in a game. Lately no one is hitting those shots with consistency.

      They have tended to play better in second halves almost every game (W&M excepted), so that’s not new. Ultimately, I think they’re a small, callow team, and now the book is out on them (keep Otis and Jaire in check and they can’t score).

      I expect they’ll match up against some A-10 teams better than PSU, but my read is that this team is more like the rebuilding 2015-16 team than last year’s. If I look at it that way then I expect next year to be even a step beyond the 2016-17 season. They’ll have 3 seniors (Jarred will be senior age), two juniors with lots of playing time, and a passel of sophomores who can provide a spark off the bench. They’ll be able to withstand foul trouble and an off-shooting night by one of the core. I don’t think they’ll will 35 games next year but 20-25 should be very possible.

      • Gamoo79

        Thanks for the perspective. Hope you’re right!!