GW vs Mason RECAP
the dude
 2/12/2018 2:09:09 PM      Replies: 26

the dude2/10/2018 6:10:38 PM

Recap thread.  tight game throughout, awful stretch, led to a fell behind big, made a pretty amazing comeback, to get back into that game late.

10 clean blocks were called fouls on us.  Some of the most 1 sided officiating I've seen against GW, outside of every road VCU game.



the dude2/10/2018 7:12:07 PM

Would be eager to hear the update on TNJr.  Cramps I presume?

chet2/10/2018 7:51:04 PM

Only saw 12 minutes or so. But, Jack looks like he's coming around. Heck. all the freshmen guards are developing, which is remarkable to me. And, each has a nose for rebounds, some defensive tenacity, and sharp passing skills. Something, clearly, is being taught by the staff. 

It's a shame that there's a paucity of upper class leadership, because without it, there have been long stretches when the team played with all the grit of a cheap frosted donut. 


dmvpiranha2/10/2018 8:28:11 PM

The positive is that we didn't fall by double digits in the loss on the road, but it hurts a little more knowing that we had a shot at stealing this one over the course of the game. My thoughts:

1) The offensive execution and gameplan was just very poor today. We scored 65 points, but not counting Yuta's sudden wakeup in the last couple minutes where we put ourselves in too big of a hole we probably had a total closer to the mid to high 50s on plays set up in the halfcourt. Mason is pretty bad defensively and they have next to no size in the frontcourt. The obvious plan coming into the game was to pound it inside with Arnaldo, Bo, and Patrick and although we did do that at times, it was just not enough. Arnaldo just isn't the best finisher inside, Patrick couldn't get his usual hooks to go with enough frequency, and Bo was unable to stay on the court in foul trouble the whole game. Our defense is just not good enough more often than not for us to have a chance if we fail to reach the 70 point benchmark every game.

2) Apart from the post game, the other key offensively was for the guards to take it to the hoop. Again, there were times where I saw us do it, but there is no sense of consistency; there will be more effort made to do so on certain possessions, and then we'll go through offensive lulls where we get way too jump shot happy with little to no passing. It's mentioned by Mojo that the team needs to play a full 40 minutes, and on the offensive end, that is not taking any possessions off or wasting any. This year, we've just not valued every offensive possession the way we need to.

3) We may have only been credited for 10 turnovers, but our inability to hold on to the ball has haunted us all season. Today was worse than usual where I counted at least three or four times where Mason just grabbed the ball out of our hands. On one play, Justin came down with the rebound, but Mason took it away and it led to a made 3 for them which was tough to see. Yuta also continues to dribble fairly loosely and one of his turnovers led to a fast break opportunity for the Patriots. The little things add up in the end, especially with how close the game was at stretches.

4) A bit better holding back from launching threes today, but it was disappointing that the result wasn't more efficient scoring as we instead opted to shoot long twos which is arguably worse especially since most of the shots were contested. Distance shooting is going to remain a big concern next season as Yuta is the only one of late who has shown the ability to knock the shot down at a decent enough clip and he's graduating. Taking out his effort today, the rest of the team scored just 46 points. Again, very concerning. I guess the positive was that we kept the game within a point at halftime with Yuta not yet on the board. He had an unusual stat line of no points and 10 rebounds - not sure I've seen that before. Good on him for continuing to fight on the glass even when the shots weren't falling.

5) Free throw shooting was bad. Not unusual for a team to shoot much worse away from home, but when you enter the bonus it becomes critical to knock them down. I was planning on making the point that we didn't take many free throws in the first half after Mason had 5 personals in the first 10 minutes of the game. The way we shot them today it probably wouldn't have made a big difference though if we tried to draw more fouls on their guys.

6) The team has to find a way to space the floor out more. Jair, Yuta, and Maceo will all benefit from having more space to operate but the offense the team currently run does not allow for any open shots (it will also allow the post game to work a bit more as defenses will have to run back out to the perimeter). Very few times did I see us have a clean look. If we miss an open shot, fine but too many shots are contested. That needs to change moving forward. It's not a coincidence that we only had 10 assists for the game. Jair did do a decent job today distributing the ball (like the pass to Bo for an easy 2) but more of our assists come from one player passing the ball, and the player being passed the ball making a tough shot. That counts as an assist, but not really one that gives the team an easy shot at an open bucket. It's just ball movement that's not effective. 

7) I haven't looked it up, but our record can't be good when we are outrebounded. It is critical for this team to win in as many categories as possible to have the chance to win. Mason won the battle today 44-35, and had 13 offensive rebounds. The second chance points really hurt the team in the second half. Outside of Yuta and Arnaldo, no one else really had a great effort on the glass. After halftime, Yuta had just two rebounds. 

8) The zone defense was effective in the first half, as we forced Mason to shoot a ton of jumpers. They made some deep threes which I could live with (although we still should have done better to close out on those shots). The story was very different in the second half, as their guards started to of course get to the rim and Livingston made a beautiful pass time after time to get his teammate an easy opportunity at a bucket. Waiting for the day where we have a point guard who is able to do that. Their forwards consistently had an open lane along the baseline to get an easy bucket and our bigs did a poor job of accounting for that. When we stopped guarding along the perimeter, I knew things were going to get ugly fast in the second half. George Mason actually had stretches where they moved the ball really well and players were cutting to the basket. We just can't seem to do that. 

9) Mojo needs to get the team to continue to play hard when things aren't going well. The team looks defeated when things aren't going right on offense and then it impacts the defense as well which is probably the one thing that was keeping us in the game (Mason is not very adept on either end this year so it wasn't always because we were playing well defensively - they are younger than us with no seniors - they can make that excuse; we can't when we have three seniors playing this year). This team has just not shown that they can look good for more than a one game span here and there which is frustrating.  

10) If it wasn't for Yuta putting the ball in the hoop the last few minutes, this was going to be yet another game where the team came out of the half and got outscored double digits. Not sure what's going on at halftime, but part of the problem is that I'm not seeing enough adjustments being made on either side of the ball. Just because we were within a point doesn't mean that the team doesn't need to make any changes. It showed in the second half when we didn't get out of the zone when Mason tore it apart, and the offensive end continued to look dreadful.

11) A positive is that Mojo took timeouts at good intervals again today. We were able stall Mason's run after the first half timeout. The second half timeouts were saved for the end of the game with the score being close (makes sense) but we were called for a five second violation coming out of one of them. Things like that drive both Mojo and the fans crazy. 

12) The team is doing a good job by pushing the ball up a bit more, but when we are in transition we don't do a very good job converting. When we have favorable numbers we need to get the ball in the hoop. 

Player breakdown:

Patrick - had a few nice hooks that were fairly tough to convert, and a nice pick-and-roll with Yuta early in the game (we need much more of that). Apart from that, just could not keep up defensively and committed a few fouls because of that. At this point, we know what he gives the team. I know he can be better on the boards - just three in 30 minutes. I'm sure he'll bounce back at some point and have another double figure scoring game but I thought he'd more consistently give the team at least 10-12 points a game but that hasn't really happened. This team really needs every point it can get.

Arnaldo - there is no doubt that he is really battling underneath and playing very hard - his hustle is very much appreciated and doesn't go unnoticed. His rebounding activity the past couple games has returned to what I know he is capable of, and he definitely deserves credit for improving on his finishes inside. Off night from the line which is surprising as he's pretty good there. Very good when he's defending one on one underneath. Two blocks again today. Overall, one of the better efforts on the team today. Compared to his freshman year, his propensity to foul is night and day. We've needed him in the frontcourt and he's done a good job of not fouling a ton this year.

Yuta - had a good day rebounding and he looked like his usual self the last few minutes, but I've got to ask what to took him so long to get so aggressive, especially when the team was going through such a lull offensively. His usual defensive effort was not there as he was beat on drives to the hoop more often than not. The last three minutes he got some tough contested jumpers to go, but I counted maybe one or two times where he actually took the ball to the hoop. There will be games where the jump shot doesn't fall. We need his scoring on a nightly basis with the team struggling in that department so he needs to find a way to get his points some way and getting to the hoop is part of the solution there - drawing fouls and getting to the line. He was part of the problem of taking way too many contested jumpers today. Needed more from him today.

Justin - did a good job of taking the ball to the hoop at times, but it wasn't nearly enough. I liked his effort on defense even though he used his hands a bit too much today and was called for some fouls. He failed to record an assist today which was part of the problem for the team offensively. It was nice to see him be productive shooting the ball though. Free throw shooting has to improve in the offseason. The point guard has to shoot a good percentage from the line otherwise there's the possibility that we could lose some close games late in the future if this continues to happen.

Terry - scary moment after it looked like he hyperextended his knee on a drive to the hoop. Glad he was able to return in some capacity although it looks like he may be on some kind of restriction the next game as he didn't play a lot in the second half. Loved that we was attacking the hoop time after time - he just looks so much better when he does that and it helps the team out a lot. Had that highlight dunk of course, and although he was just 1-4 today I hope he continues to do so. His free throw shooting has continued to improve with every game so even if he misses and gets fouled, I'm more confident now that he'll knock down the FTs. Some things he needs to continue to improve like cutting down on the number of turnovers - he is prone to dribbling through traffic. He hasn't made a big impact on defense of late - I'd like to see some steals/blocks every game but he's still been okay there. Did a good job before getting hurt, and I hope he feels better.

Bo - had a nice postup that led to a dunk and converted on a put-in off a nice pass from Jair. His free throw stroke looked better than usual today which was nice to see. I don't agree with all the fouls he was called for (and a lot of the fouls the refs called today) but to be fair, Bo and the rest of the team switched late and often times had to catch up to the Mason player taking it to the hoop which should be avoided to begin with. Cannot afford to have a frontcourt player foul out in just 13 minutes. Needs to make sure not to use his hands on defense as much.

Jair - glad to see him return from the concussion and he looked a bit more in control today. Has a pretty consistent jumper from inside the arc, and he deserves a bit more credit for the amount of space he is able to create for himself before taking a shot. Did a better job passing the ball today, although as I previously mentioned, it wasn't always because he found a player wide open or anything. Still, the team really needed his five assists today and I'm glad he gave that to us. His defense was a bit better than usual as he came up with some nice steals. He had one really good stretch where his jumpers were falling and on defense he saved a couple of balls from going out of bounds. Yeah, the offense doesn't exactly flow very well when he's in (especially when he's playing the point) but he did some nice things today. Really need his threes to start falling again in the worst way. This team's shooting is just brutal.

Maceo - continues to use his hands a bit too much on defense, but he has really improved from the beginning of the season and it gives me hope that he'll be able to contribute in the rotation next year. Like Terry, he is a bit prone to dribbling into traffic which causes him to turn it over. I'm confident his shooting will come around sooner or later. His three point stroke looks pretty good and we'll need that moving forward. Probably got away with a travel taking it to the hoop but it's nice to see that our freshmen aren't afraid to do so. Gives me some hope for the future that this team may be able to turn it around but the lack of a go-to guy next year is definitely concerning.

No appearance from Juice today. Unless he got injured in practice, not sure why he isn't playing a bit more consistently even if it's for just several minutes of the game. Maybe Mojo flips a coin - if it's heads, he'll make an appearance. If it's tails, he'll be riding the bench. Very confused by his playing minutes at times this year.

It's tough to see us in last place right now, but unless we notch a win on the road I don't see us moving up much higher. We have three games left in Foggy Bottom and three left on the road before the end of the season. For the next game, we head up to Amherst against a UMass team that has been a bit up and down this season. Given that it's on the road, I'm not expecting a win but I'm hoping for another competitive game and for the team to execute a bit better on the offensive end.  


alumnus2/10/2018 9:07:03 PM

Yeah, we lost the second half, but Nolan was hurt and Bo got called for some fouls they weren't calling on them.  Steeves wasn't too effective on either end. I didn't think it was Lack of prep, I think we're just not hard to figure out, and we don't have many versatile players who can try some other way of playing offense.   Lack of depth more than anything else.

Nolan's injury  looked like an ankle to me.  I was across from our bench.  They were icing it.  When he came back in, he had no push.   I wouldn't be surprised if he's done.  No point in him getting hurt worse.  



truth2/10/2018 9:30:38 PM

Last place in the A10 during one of the worst seasons in A10 history. I wonder why?


chet2/10/2018 9:38:00 PM

Answer: see above.  Senior class? One guy, and two fill-ins. Junior class? Run off. Abuse has consequences of all sorts. 


truth2/10/2018 10:20:19 PM

Proper preparation prevents poor performance. Can anyone argue that Mojo is remotely prepared?


the dude2/10/2018 10:47:38 PM

Did Notice he came back and looked hobbled, but looked like a hammy cramp? Eager for a TNJr update when one is available

Alumnus, as always, good post.

dave2/11/2018 11:54:28 AM

Last place in the A10, in one of the worst seasons in A10 history.  I wonder why?


the mv2/11/2018 1:04:46 PM

First game against Mason?  14 fast break points.  Wednesday against La Salle?  13 fast break points.  Yesterday?  Zero.  

Minus 9 on the boards yesterday after going -1 in the first game with Mason.  GM with 13 offensive rebounds.  If Mason is crashing the offensive boards, then you have to be able to fast break.  Letting them crash the boards and slowing things down so that their defense gets back is a recipe for failure.  Fast break or be aggressive on the have to be able to do at least one.

I noticed many possessions where Yuta was not guarding Otis.  Seemed strange considering that Yuta has a history of shutting him down.  Even with Mason’s high ball screens, Yuta does very well in general with staying with his man. I did not understand why Terry had so many defensive possessions guarding Otis.  He will get his chance next year, but we have Yuta for this this year.

Very hard watching this team lose heart to a school they had won 9 straight games against.  Only fitting it was George Mason’s homecoming opponent.  We ought to now be everyone’s homecoming opponent considering the way we combine a lack of confidence with a lack of urgency (until it is too late) when playing away from home.


merrick2/11/2018 1:13:46 PM

LSf--totally agree on the level-setting of expectations.  Also nice wrap-up from DMV, but I'll disagree on a few points.

1) I thought the offensive gameplan was adequate and was overwhelmed by lack of execution.  If you mean the game plan is to  never get Toro the ball underneath because he has struggled (putting it lightly) to finish--I suppose you are right, but we missed a lot of seemingly easy shots inside.

2) It's hard to assess the second half without accounting for Nolan's absence (it was an ankle/foot injury).  During Mason's 16-2 stretch that opened up a 41-41 game with roughly 11 minutes to a 57-43 deficit with about 5 remaining  (including the play wherre Justin was stripped leaading to a 46-41 Mason lead) Nolan was out on defense or ineffective due to reduced mobility in his few minutes.  Jair was covering Livingston for portions of that run and while not lacking effort, was overwhelmed.  They also seemed to lose their edge on offense during Nolan's absence engaging in a lot on of one-one play, poor shot selection, and the team's real achilles heel--an inability to actually make their shots even when uncontested.  Still, on a team that's thin to begin with, Nolan's absence hurt a lot during the second half.



dmvpiranha2/11/2018 3:45:59 PM

I agree with a lot of what MV said, especially with Yuta not guarding Livingston for a good part of the game. That was very confusing to me as well.

Regarding your points Merrick, I think you may have misunderstood what I was trying to say. Against Mason's non-existent frontcourt, the gameplan should have been 1) to get it down to Patrick/Bo/Arnaldo and 2) to have the guards/Yuta take it to the hoop as there is no one on Mason who is really a rim protector (especially when Yuta's jumpers weren't falling). I was just pointing out that we did neither of those things frequently enough on offense - there are times where we seem to willingly go to the hoop (I gave Jair a lot of credit because he had two possessions fairly close to each other where he got two quick layups - I hadn't seen him do that much at all for a good part of the season) or establish the post, but then we go through periods afterwards where we get too jump shot happy and it's not a coincidence that we go cold a lot of times during those periods - that in my opinion was questionable in-game coaching - there's just a lack of consistency operating the offense. While I do agree that the players have been missing some bunnies close to the rim all season (which is lack of execution - I acknowledged that), the frustrating part was not only did we take a ton of jump shots when we got cold shooting from the field, pretty much all of them were contested. This is not a good jump shooting team (which has been long since established) and even when Yuta got hot the last few minutes of the games nearly all of those shots were contested as well but luckily he got a shooter's bounce a couple of times. The Patriots did a good job and deserve some recognition for holding us offensively, but we also did not exactly do well to get guys open to get better looks - spacing the floor out is something this team needs to work on A LOT next season as well as cutting to the hoop/moving around on offense and finding the open man when passing the ball. Every possession is important, and this team just takes too many off which has made matters worse. Yuta disappeared for a lot of the game which was a combination of not getting him the ball enough at times and not setting enough picks to give him more space to operate. The team's offense overall this season hasn't really flowed from the lack of plays being run - the pick-and-roll between Patrick and Yuta was one of the few I remember seeing during the game.

Arnaldo has actually improved a good amount finishing near the rim the past couple of games, so I think we should have gone to him more since he wasn't in foul trouble like Bo. It was tough that Patrick couldn't get his usual hooks to go but again Mason deserves credit for not giving him good looks underneath. Terry getting hurt obviously didn't help (nor are other injuries the team is suffering from right now) as he was doing a good job taking it to the hoop up to that point but none of that matters too much when we are unable to get open shots regardless of who is on the floor. Mason is ranked 250th in defensive efficiency. No reason we should have struggled as much as we did. I didn't speak much on defense, but to a degree that is more about effort and when our shots don't fall our defense tends to be impacted as well. 

I think overall the line between execution and gameplan is though to distinguish at times, but when a team is struggling for an extended period, the gameplan must be changed in-game and I didn't really see that in the coaching. The team came out flat yet again in the second half. Mojo calling timeouts at the right intervals has been a step in the right direction though. 


neil2/11/2018 5:34:42 PM

congradulations GW is in last place and gets the worse ticket seating in DC.

fire the staff


free quebec2/11/2018 7:40:31 PM

I noticed too that we didn’t have Yuta on Livingston.  It looked like the game plan was to switch every screen.  When we weren’t in zone, we were constantly switching - which often led to open shots or mismatches or general defensive breakdowns.  


I didn’t understand why we approached it that way.  It’s what MoJo said he wanted to do before the season, but we’ve done it infrequently this year.  Maybe he just wants to try to play that way because it’s for next year?  It certainly wasn’t as effective of just letting Yuta shut down their best player, like we usually do.  


chet2/11/2018 8:27:43 PM

Ref's (and ML) caused us to lose that game. 6 games left. We can win them all and then get a bid to the CBI Tourney. If we win the CBI Tourney all you whiners will eat shit. I look forward to the day I can sit in the Smitty and look up and see the 2018 CBI Champions banner hanging next to our NIT banner!

dcabloob2/12/2018 7:04:23 AM

The CBI would have to be really hard up to invite GW. 

dominic2/12/2018 7:17:57 AM

Plus, GW would have to be worse off to accept a CBI invitation. 

mason fan2/12/2018 10:25:53 AM

As a Mason fan, I think the biggest question I had was why GW stopped doing what they have done to Otis Livingston for 5 games before this?  Yuta switched on everything (doesn't usually do that).


2 of the 5 fouls on Ziegler were absolute horsecrap, but we had a couple of bad calls against us to (neither team could hit a free throw).  Arnoldo Toro went 3-7 from within 2 feet of the basket with a freshman big with foul trouble guarding him (make a layup son).  I know you like your new starting PG but that kid is just not D1 caliber.  Shoots like a freshman in high school ladies player. (Didn't you guys have another that shot like that who is no longer with the program?)  

This was the first time Paulsen has outcoached a GW coach since he has gotten here.  Do you have anyone that can replace Yuta next year?  I sure as hell won't miss him


the mv2/12/2018 12:45:53 PM

Yes MasonFan.  Many of us are asking ourselves the same question, as the game was unfolding and afterwards.  Otis didn't just have bad games with Yuta guarding him, he has had arguably some of the worst games of his college career as I'm sure you'll attest to this.  It's as if our coach said that we won't have Yuta next year so let's see if we can slow Otis down using other players on him.  Needless to say, we couldn't.  Single biggest reason why we lost IMO.


fan2/12/2018 12:48:56 PM

Nice set-up for the Mail Van, "Mason Fan."  You must play volley ball. 

former colonial2/12/2018 1:27:11 PM

The guys play very tough for Mojo.  By this time every year, most had quit on Lonergan.  


bo knows2/12/2018 1:45:16 PM

Actually MV and Mason Fan, Paulsen did something very smart to counter the Yuta-Livingston man matchup. He did a lot more guard to guard screening which required more switching. It's easier not to switch on big to guard ball screen because you blitz or jam those more effectively. Also in fairness to Mojo, Terry getting injured really affected what we could do defensively as far as playing more man.


bo knows2/12/2018 1:46:44 PM

Former Colonial, yes the players quit so much on ML at the end of seasons that they won the NIT Championship. Puzzling, right? 


newgwfan2/12/2018 1:50:09 PM

Bo -

The party line is the players decided to finally play for themselves, only once Mitola hit that runner in the lane.  So they started the season playing for him (dominating OOC, beating Virginia), quit on him during conference play, and then said eff him and played for themselves when they got to the NIT.  :)


the mv2/12/2018 2:09:09 PM

Bo, certainly agree that Terry's second half injury had a big impact.  Terry actually did a good job on Otis during the first half.  But, two things worth noting:

1) There were many possessions where the screening had nothing to do with this.  In other words, we would begin the defensive possession with Terry on Otis in the first half, and Jair on Otis in the second half.  The rationale I suppose was to negate the effectiveness of the guard screens by not allowing them to happen in the first place, but I would disagree with this strategy (particulary with Terry on the bench) because:

2) The way to combat Paulsen's strategy would have been for MoJo to get his players to commit to staying with their man at all times.  That means Yuta surveys the screen and then quickly must decide whether to go on top of it or under it, but regardless, he is to stay on Otis.  Of course Yuta could have been burned to some extent (always a possibility) but to not even try this approach turned out to be a killer.

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