GoMason.com posted some highlights from last night’s loss at Hofstra, careful the frame rate isn’t easy on the eyes:
The team’s chemistry this season and overall decision making is much improved from a year ago. When team’s clog up the middle the Patriots find the open man for an outside three, when the perimeter shots are denied they find Pearson or a cutting Hancock inside for the easy two. Larranaga has to be impressed with this lately because it’s been the difference in a lot of wins. Overall I think this team is tough to beat when they are in transition and moving the ball well. It was evident last night against a Delaware team that was playing a pretty darn good game.
Offensively it was another good shooting night from the three-point line for Mason as they shot better form there (42.3%) then they did from the field (38.9%). They dominated the boards and ended the game with 26 offensive rebounds, they had been averaging about 11.5 up until this point. Of course they had a lot of opportunities for offensive boards because of their poor shooting from the field but they made good on a lot of second chance points. Both teams got to the free-throw line about the same but Mason ended up having the last laugh in OT. They have been slowly improving in this area this season and I think it’s going to pay off a lot by the end of the season. Another area the team did well in again was dishing out assists as they finished with 16 in this one. The Patriots are 7-0 this season when they record 16 or more assists.
|Photo via Flickr|
The Patriots finished their homestand 5-0 and improve to 7-2 on the year with Cam Long joining the 1,000 point club at George Mason. They have won each game during their home stretch by at least 14 points, however Loyola was the first team to shoot higher than 38% from the field against them. Still an impressive game for the Patriots who ended up forcing 17 turnovers and getting 18 points off them. Luke Hancock had another complete game which he started off by assisting on the first four baskets for Mason Their free-throw numbers weren’t great but they continue to get to the line more than the opposing team. Defensively they weren’t as tough as they have been as the Greyhounds got a little too many open looks in the 1st half. They were also beat on the boards more than I would like to see against a team like this. Some of that was masked by great scoring efforts from Cam Long, Ryan Pearson, and Luke Hancock. The team needs to see more scoring nights like this from Pearson because it can really establish an inside presence. Long has been consistent and Hancock usually is too but Pearson can be a tough man to guard for opposing teams and we haven’t seen the team take advantage of that enough. His spin move to the basket in the 1st half showed how dangerous of a scorer he can be when he’s not frustrated. Meanwhile Mike Morrison was a total non-factor and played all of 3 minutes in the first half after two quick fouls. Paris Bennett and Jonathan Arledge got more minutes because of this and Arledge looked good. In the first half he left after it looked like he hurt his shoulder and that opened the door for Johnny Williams who looked pretty awful. I think all those commenting here asking why he doesn’t play much should go back and look at the tape from this game.
The Patriots do enter these next couple of road games with some confidence as they have showed dominance on offense and defense through their last couple of games. It will be interesting to see how they do against some better competition away from the Patriot Center. Rebounding is probably the only area they need to improve on to be successful on the road. They are shooting the ball better, getting more assists, and forcing more turnovers than they were at this point last season. Overall they are a more disciplined squad and it seems like more players are comfortable with their roles on the team.
[Video from GoMason.com’s Patriot Vision]
[Video from GoMason.com’s Patriot Vision]
“They don’t clearly understand how to get it done yet,” said Larranaga. “I didn’t want to take a chance on putting them into a situation where they’d turn the ball over a couple times and we’d lose the lead.”
Rebounding: The Patriots didn’t do a great job on the boards in this one and were out rebounded 37-31. They let GW get way too many second chance opportunities and when your playing a team that shoots that poorly you can’t have that happen.
Bench Support: So much for this being a deep team. Mason got almost no help from their bench last night and it’s obvious after Coach L’s comments post game that he doesn’t have much faith in their ability on defense. If he doesn’t have faith in them with 8 minutes to go and up by 10 against a team like GW what’s going to happen when they play VCU or ODU? The starters won’t last playing this long all season and it was rare that no one was in foul trouble in the 2nd half. Also, Paris Bennett continues to get minutes over Johnny Williams in the front court, which is still puzzling to me.
Free throws: I can’t remember the last time I praised Mason for their free-throw shooting, probably because I never have. Not only did they do an excellent job getting to the line more than GW (as you can see in the chart below) they also made them pay for it. It still wasn’t a great percentage (69.7%) overall but they connected on a lot in the first 30 minutes of the game which helped them maintain a lead. At times it seemed as if Cornelius, Hancock, and Pearson could get to the line whenever they wanted, I’d like to see more of that.