Expect head coach Paul Hewitt to continue
Mason's new look offense - call it a three-guard or double point guard set - in
Sunday's key CAA game against Northeastern in Boston. A win by the Patriots
(12-7, 5-2 conference) win would keep the team in second place, one game behind
Northeastern (12-7, 7-0), and avenge an 84-74 loss in Fairfax.
Hewitt had experimented in practices and
recent games with playing point guards Corey Edwards and Bryon Allen together
after Edwards supplanted Allen as the starting point guard. He decided earlier
in the week to start them both with Allen replacing forward Anali Okoloji in
The Patriots responded with a 77-67 win
Wednesday against third-place Towson.
Allen scored 16 points, providing scoring support to Sherrod Wright, the
No.2 CAA scorer, who finished with 24 points.
"I think it makes us more fluid
offensively," said Hewitt, whose team is sixth in CAA scoring at 65.7 points
per game. "I think it gives us potential for 75-85 points a game. I was a
little disappointed with our offensive output (this season), but we've been
protecting really well. That's why I've kind of stuck for a long time with what
we were doing."
Edwards is the point guard most of the time
when he and Allen play together. With Allen joining Wright on the wing, it puts
Allen back at shooting guard, the position he played most of his high school
Allen finished with a team-high six assists,
many of them on the fast break, and also had a spectacular finish on an
alley-oop pass from Edwards.
"It's probably something I should have done
earlier," said Hewitt, whose team leads the CAA in defensive scoring (62.2 ppg)
and defensive field goal percentage (.390), about the lineup change. "If you're
rebounding the way we've been rebounding and Anali is the best perimeter
rebounder we have and defending the way were defending, why change?
"I felt like it gave us a better chance to
capitalize on turnovers and get out in transition. One thing that's frustrated
me is that we do jump people with pressure, but we haven't been finishing
plays. Now have two finishers (Wright, Allen) out there, two passers (Edwards,
Allen) out there to create easy baskets. I think you saw that we're much better
The Patriots have also gotten a boost from
freshman Marko Gujanicic, who is averaging 8.3 points and 8.0 rebounds the last
three games while shooting 4-for-10 from three-point range. "Marko's lost about
eight pounds over the past couple of weeks," Hewitt said. "We were on him about
his weight. I think that was his biggest problem. He wasn't getting his usual
lift. He's a health food eater now - let's put it that way. He feels quicker,
he feels better.
"Before, early in the year, he was going by
people and had the lift to finish at the rim. The last couple of games he's
going by people and finishing easily."
Hewitt hopes the Patriots can finish against
Northeastern. In the January 3 game, Mason led by six with 12:51 left and four
with 7:52 left. They never led in the final 4:56 as the Huskies were sparked by
torrid second-half shooting, going 18-for-28 (64.3%) including 6-for-9 (66.7%)
from three-point range.
"We kind of ran out of gas," Hewitt said.
"They had more energy at the end of the game. They just closed with a flurry.
"The two games we've lost in the league
(Northeastern, UNCW), I don't think we played poorly. I thought in both games
we did not finish strong. We've talked about finishing our games better."