George Mason makes Maryland eat their Schwartz 71 – 66
Kim English and his George Mason Patriots invaded Xfinity Center yesterday in which they handed Maryland their Bill of Rights 71 – 66. The artillery from Schwartz, Cooper, Gaines, and Oduro were too much for the Terrapins as the Patriots bombarded the Terp’s for thirty-six points from beyond the arc shooting an impressive 50% from the field.
What was most impressive, was George Masons organization and tactics throughout the contest. Kim English, armed with several transfer students, were able to systematically put constant pressure on Maryland throughout the contest. While Maryland’s Julian Reese had an impressive showing off the bench finishing with twelve points, Maryland’s bench was outplayed throughout the night. No player from the Maryland bench finished with a positive +/- ratio and Xavier Green who provided fifteen minutes finished with a –11-point differential while on the floor.
The other noticeable difference was shooting from beyond the arc. While Mason and D’Shawn Schwartz had a career high six threes and shot 50% as a team from the arc, Maryland shot just over 30% on 9 of 28 shooting. This has been a similar problem for the Maryland offense in the past. There were plenty of open looks but Maryland could not capitalize. It could be their Achilles heel this season as well where the three-point line has revolutionized the offense for most teams, including George Mason.
Causes for Concern:
Coaching: This was the third game in a row that Maryland found itself trailing at halftime. Mark Turgeon has recognized this as a problem and has previously admitted it is something they want to fix. For those who read my articles, know that I support Turgeon more than most despite his frustrating style of play. In these past two games specifically, Maryland was outcoached by both Kim English (George Mason) and John Becker (Vermont).
Shooting: How many times have we heard this before? Maryland still lacks a true three-point threat on their roster. Donta Scott, who last year was asked to play the five and guard NBA level talent each night, might be asked soon to now become the team’s top target from distance as he is the only Terp to show true consistency finishing last season with a 43.8% shooting percentage. The real issue is Eric Ayala. If Maryland wants to be special, they will need Ayala to hit the open looks he has seen. Ayala drained two late point threes in the final three minutes to put the Terps within striking distance, but his game was bookended by terrible shooting on the night.
Attendance: I know it is the week before Thanksgiving. I know students have finals. I know people hate to read this…but the fans are not doing their part. This.Is.Maryland. We are supposed to be the epitome of college basketball. We are known for a tremendous home court advantage. We are the difference makers in tight ballgames. Where are we? We have not had live basketball in two seasons and was again at less than two thirds capacity. The “gate” was 11,948 but that is counting paid seats with nobody in them. Realistically it was about half capacity, many of which were from the George Mason local community.
Reasons for hope
Experience: Maryland’s starting five is full of experience. Maryland has several players on the bench with years of experience. They will not be phased by this as much as the fans are. Green and Martinez will adjust and make this team better. It is early in the season and this team will only continue to gel.
Julian Reese: “Ju Ju” has been more impressive every game. Wahab was considered the top 3 transfer out of 1500 transfers this past season and the Freshman Reese outplayed him against arguably both Vermont and George Mason. Reese will be on the floor more for Maryland as the season goes on. They simply cannot afford to keep him on the bench. If Reese can learn to play the four, Hakim Hart might be regulated to the bench. If not, we may have an uncomfortable situation with Wahab’s playing time. He has been that good.
Mason is good: Speaking of good. Mason was better than advertised. I have no doubt Mason will be ranked at some point this season and will challenge Saint Bonaventure for the top spot in the A-10. Kim English is a heck of a coach whose team won by twenty or more in every game this season. Yes, Maryland was ranked higher, but George Mason played better tonight and deserved the win.
Maryland will try to made its adjustments tomorrow as they play Hofstra at Xfinity with a 6:30 p.m. tipoff on Fox Sports One.