A few items that seemed obvious from tonight’s proceedings in Fairfax before getting to the data (and wrapping up from the Patriot Center).
* It figures that the one chance to see Dayton forward Chris Wright locally, he tosses up a truly unremarkable game. By his standards —- and this is a guy who dropped 27 points and 10 rebounds on West Virginia in last year’s NCAA tournament —- a two-point, three-rebound night constitutes a clunker.
That said, the guy’s too good to be derailed for long. He certainly looks the part. If he plays well, Dayton probably wins tonight by double figures. Suspect that will be the case a lot in A-10 play as well.
* Mason coach Jim Larranaga knows all too well what an issue rebounding is for the Patriots.
Mason was outrebounded for the sixth time in nine games. Twice more, it was an even split. And even though the Flyers only held a 35-29 edge, it sure seemed like every significant rebound went their way.
Put it in these terms: There were 31 rebounds off Mason misses tonight. Dayton got 25 of them. That has to reverse if the Patriots are going to do serious damage going forward.
* On to the plus-minus for the night, with quick analysis to follow
||+/- (1st, 2nd)
||-5 (-5, DNP)
||-2 (-3, +1)
||+5 (-5, +10)
||+1 (-13, +14)
||+3 (-15, +18)
||+2 (-12, +14)
||-9 (-11, +2)
||-4 (-4, DNP)
||+13 (DNP, +13)
||-9 (-12, +3)
Obviously, Birdsong provided a substantial boost. But so did Sherrod Wright when he entered with 15:19 to play. To that point, Mason had only shaved a point off Dayton’s halftime margin. From there, Mason held a 31-17 edge.
—- Patrick Stevens