George Mason Patriots Show Positives and Negatives in Exhibition Victory
Last night, George Mason fans were granted their first chance to witness this season’s 2012-2013 men’s Basketball team in action.
At the Patriot Center, in Fairfax, VA, head coach Paul Hewitt and company welcomed the Bowie State Bulldogs to the 10,000-seat arena for a preseason exhibition game. For the first time on the floor in a game setting all season, things went reasonably well for the perennial CAA powerhouse.
Hewitt had five players score in double figures, saw great team defense and overall relative offensive cohesiveness as he team squeaked out a 76-72 victory over their Division II opponent.
Freshman forward, Marko Gujanicic, who hails from Serbia but played his high school ball at Stoneridge Prep in California, led the team in scoring with 16 points. Following the rook, sophomore big man Erik Copes added 13 points, junior guard Vertrail Vaughns put in 12, sophomore big Anali Okoloji contributed 11 and junior forward Jonathan Arledge pitched in 10.
The highlight of the game for the Patriots came when they answered a big Bowie State three-pointer from Byron Westmorland that brought the Bulldogs lead to 16-14 at the 10-minute mark in the first half. But, GMU immediately responded firing off 14-0 run that eventually led to their 39-32 halftime lead.
As the stats show, the Patriots carried out a very balanced scoring attack; something that will most likely prove very beneficial throughout the course of a long and complex season. As a team, Mason shot 50 percent and took excellent care of the basketball, only succumbing to 19 turnovers. If they want to compete for the CAA crown with the likes of Drexel and Delaware, the Patriots will need to have the same offensive efficiency carry over against Division I foes.
The Patriots definitely need to work on their team rebounding, however, only winning the battle of the boards 33-32 despite the Patriots massive height advantage.
Overall, Hewitt used 11 players in the team’s preseason contest. For the preseason CIAA Northern Division favorite Bulldogs, Westmorland put on a 30-point show.
George Mason opens the regular season on Friday, November 9 when they welcome the Virginia Cavaliers to the Patriot Center.
Jake Fischer is the CAA Correspondent for Rant Sports-NCAA Basketball. Make sure to follow Jake on Twitter @fischsportsline.