3-Game Mini Plans - Men's Basketball
(Photo by George Mason Athletics)
Around the Rim: Road Improvements
Courtesy: George Mason Athletics
Release: 01/25/2013

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    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 lineup.

  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 career.

   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 in transition."

    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."





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