By Jon Rothstein
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1. DETROIT’S FINEST
Guards from the Motor City don’t have the cache as the ones from New York — but they’re pretty darn good and Duquesne has three of them.
Led by senior Eric Evans, the Dukes back court drove the ball on George Mason all game long en route to a 75-64 victory. Other Detroit natives, Mike Talley and Jerry Jones didn’t have the type of impact Evans did in the victory but did yeoman’s work sticking to the game plan. The 5-foot-11 Evans will be a force in conference play if he can refine his outside shot to go with his already tight handle.
2. SPEED KILLS
There may be more talented teams in the Atlantic-10 this season — but Duquense might be the biggest nuisance. Blessed with a plethora of talented guards, Dukes coach Ron Everhart frequently uses four perimeter players on the floor together that can all put the ball in the basket and find their teammates knifing to the rim. Size might be an advantage for many teams playing Duquesne this season, but speed won’t be.
3. PEARSON’S PRESENCE
No one player in the entire CAA may be as important to their team as Ryan Pearson is to George Mason. The 6-foot-6 lefty face up forward is the Patriots’ anchor on the backboards and a match up nightmare offensively because of his versatility. Still, this former Christ The King star needs more consistent help in the front court as the season progresses.
4. VETERAN LIFT
George Mason played the first ten games of the season without veteran guard Andre Cornelius, who was serving a suspension, but his experience was immediately felt on against Duquesne. Bringing perimeter pressure defensively while adding some pop on offense, Cornelius instantly made the Patriots a more formidable opponent. Look for Hewitt to play this senior together with sophomore point guard Bryon Allen in the back court frequently this season in hopes of maximizing Cornelius’ ability to dribble drive and get to the basket.
5. TURNOVER PRONE
Whether or not it was the effects of an 11 day layoff, George Mason has to do a much better job moving forward at taking care of the basketball. The Patriots committed 22 turnovers including seven alone from starting point guard Bryon Allen in the loss to Duquesne. That will have be amended immediately if this team is to be in the top three of the CAA.
BY THE NUMBERS
The number of turnovers committed by George Mason.
The number of steals by Duquesne.
THEY SAID IT
“We obviously weren’t ready to play tonight. They were much more aggressive from the start and it showed,” – George Mason coach Paul Hewitt on the loss to Duquesne.
“He’s a game changer,” – Duquesne coach Ron Everhart on Dukes guard T.J. McConnell
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