George Mason is now 0-3 to start the year for first time since the 2002-03 season. The loss to American at home was real bad but it looked like they bouncing back in the first half against Georgia Southern last night. The Patriots were lights out to start the game, sinking 11-of-15 three pointers and holding a 54-34 lead at the half. But their poor defense, which essentially has just been giving up easy lay-ups and dunks, and numerous unforced turnovers quickly lost them the lead in the second half. Dave Paulsen’s reluctance to play anything other than man-to-man on defense has led to a team unable to make any kind of stops.
One other big glaring issue for this year’s team is the absence of scoring Goanar Mar and Otis Livingston II. Mar has only scored two points all year and Otis is now averaging just 8 PPG through the first three games. We knew he’d probably have a lighter load this year with the added depth but he’s been way too quiet so one of the few consistent shooters on this team.
Turnovers are just flat our killing also. Justin Kier and Otis have been turnover machines so far. Lots of tipped passes, bounces off feet, and just carelessness with the basketball. I don’t really know how you explain that when we returned all of last year’s team and had the benefit of extra games and practices this summer with the Spain trip. It’s kind of like Otis forgot how to play point guard.
The addition of Jarred Reuter seems to have changed the team’s overall gameplan. That was expected but just not with these results. He’s presence in the middle is noticeable but he is slow on defense and been a non-factor at that end. AJ Wilson has been a better defender so far at the five. Maybe Paulsen’s right that they are not playing like they are practicing but that excuse already seems tired at this point. It seems they have went away from some of the things that worked well for the team over the last three years on both ends of the court.