- DOJ reaches largest-ever federal government settlement over auto loan discrimination
- U.S. Navy to start giving gay couples marriage benefits in Japan
- Sen. Harry Reid goes to hospital as a precaution
- Fla.’s Trey Radel exits rehab, ‘excited’ to resume congressional role
- U.S. nuclear general boozed it up, chased ‘hot women’ in Russia: report
- 45 Calif. students at one school test positive for tuberculosis exposure
- Rob Ford on women: Give them cash ‘and they are happy’
- Ku Klux Klan group holds recruitment meeting in Maryland
- Airport assassination: Mayor, 3 others killed at Manila airport
- Tea party-type lawmakers take mysterious, off-books trip to Mideast
George Mason aware it must be tougher
Lesser teams are staying in games
Question of the Day
Another close game was unfolding against a second-division CAA team for George Mason, a routine occurrence over the past month. It was as good a time as any for Patriots coach Paul Hewitt to have an epiphany.
It didn’t matter if Mason spent the entire season with at least a share of first place.
It didn’t matter if the Patriots won an NCAA tournament game a year ago.
It didn’t matter if one of the conference’s pre-eminent programs has won 17 straight league games in Fairfax.
Hofstra — and anyone else in the bottom half of the CAA — wasn’t afraid of the Patriots, simple as that. That Mason would eventually dominate the final six minutes Wednesday to create separation in a 72-62 victory at Patriot Center was in some ways an afterthought.
The Patriots’ penchant for avoiding contact helped earn them another tight contest.
“We’ve been talking about technique the whole year, about boxing out and sprinting to screens,” Hewitt said. “Then you get down to it that they’re not afraid of us. They just run through us. At some point, you have to make a stand. That’s what we talked about at halftime. You just have to make a physical stand.”
And so they did. A litmus test of whether Hewitt’s exhortations will stick comes Saturday when the Patriots (20-6, 12-2 CAA) visit UNC Wilmington (9-15, 5-9).
“Coach gave us the big-time speech that we have to be more physical, and they’re not afraid of us, and I feel like all of us locked in as guards and got some rebounds,” guard Sherrod Wright said. “The bigs started boxing out more, we started boxing out more. Once we become more physical as a team from the start, we won’t have these problems all the time.”
Hewitt doesn’t want the Patriots to engage in unsportsmanlike play, a point he was quick to emphasize. But with the balance of the schedule shrinking, he also must know the exploitation of Mason’s flaws will have more substantial consequences over the next month.
Those shortcomings exist for a team still tied with Drexel and Virginia Commonwealth at the top of the conference. Mason continues to struggle to put away teams such as the Pride (8-18, 2-12), whose first deficit of more than six points came with 1:40 to play.
Physicality remains a concern as well. Forwards Mike Morrison and Ryan Pearson combined for four rebounds Wednesday, their lowest collective total of the season. But it goes beyond the established starters; in the 5:49 both were on the bench in the first half Wednesday, Mason scored five points total and none in the paint.
Little wonder the Patriots’ recent issues quickly crystallized in Hewitt’s mind.
“I’ve been trying to figure out why some of these teams play with us,” Hewitt said. “No disrespect meant, but there’s no fear because we don’t play physical back. People play physical with us and we don’t. I don’t mean anything dirty or emotional. Just set solid screens, box out. Our rebounding has come around. We saw that against Old Dominion [on Saturday]. But the first half, we were afraid to touch anyone.”
Whenever that’s the case, opponents won’t be cautious. At this point, it is a truth Mason must be well aware of; its coach certainly is.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Patrick Stevens has covered Maryland and other Mid-Atlantic college sports for more than a decade. You can reach him at email@example.com.
- George Mason's defense dissipates in 84-74 loss to Northeastern
- Maryland's Pe'Shon Howard willing to let others put ball in the basket
- At 7-5, George Mason looks on the bright side entering CAA play
- Terps beat IUPUI, set for ACC after final tuneup
- Maryland's Jake Layman shows signs of progress in freshman season
Latest Blog Entries
By Michael P. Orsi
Edward Snowden should declare his patriotism in court
- Huge backlash mounts over suspension of 'Duck Dynasty' star Phil Robertson
- Dems use new filibuster rules to approve DHS nominee Alejandro Mayorkas under investigation
- D.C. to tout Obamacare among youth waiting for Air Jordans
- Deportations under Obama plunged to just 1 percent last year
- Homeland Security helps smuggle illegal immigrant children into the U.S.
- TARGET credit card theft swells to 40 million victims
- Special ops vets slam military benefit cuts
- Sen. Harry Reid goes to hospital as a precaution
- Obamacare 'pajamas boy' gets roundly mocked
- Citing 'unfair system,' Obama commutes sentences for 8 crack offenders
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
We’re human: we don’t always think things through, so we accept many ideas that are, well, ideas that are wrong. We also look past certain truths without recognizing them.
Consummate traveler Todd DeFeo explores the unique stories that make destinations worth going to.
Happiness is attainable. Morning to night. I love to teach, deal with folks that have an issue and really wish to tackle it and write.
Southern Fried Politics from the Lens of a Persian-American Millennial
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow