The Last Three Minutes of 2011
Up 54-48 with 3:05 to play, George Mason's Cam Long missed a three point attempt rebounded by forward Mike Morrison. The tallest Patriot traveled however and gave the ball back to the Wildcats. Corey Fisher drove the length of the floor at full tilt, a tactic Villanova fans have seen many, many times over the senior's career. So too apparently, the Patriot's staff, as they broke down Villanova game films while prepping the team. A charge and turnover. Though Cam Long would again turn the ball over on GMU's next possession, the Patriots seemed to have the momentum as Villanova's empty possessions were mounting. Fisher missed another three point attempt, rebound (again) to Cam Long, and George Mason's Isaiah Tate scored on the next possession to narrow the gap to 51-54 with just under two minutes left. After a timeout the Patriots shifted strategies and fouled Antonio Pena on Villanova's next possession. Two misses, a GMU layup with an "and one" and the score was knotted at 54. Another foul put Mouphtaou Yarou on the line; another empty free throw line possession, two Patriot misses followed by offensive rebounds, and GMU's possession ended with a dunk by Morrison and a two point Mason lead. Corey Fisher, fouled while attempting a three, drained all three free throws to put Villanova up by one with 31 seconds left, but the Wildcats could not get a stop, allowing Luke Hancock to hit a three 10 seconds later. On the seven possessions in those last two minutes George Mason scored 13 points for 1.86 points per possession. The Wildcats responded with three points with their last seven possessions of 2011 season. 0.43 points per possession.
The Athletic Department website posted the official boxscore and the AP wire story, "George Mason Squeaks by...". The breakdown by halves...
|Opponent:||George Mason University|
Different Opponent, Same Pattern
The Wildcats played another game with their possession rate in the 50s. This was the third consecutive game where the offense played at a very deliberate pace. The first half rate -- 28.5 possessions computed -- was identical to the South Florida game, and like the USF game the 'Cats converted their possessions to points at a very efficient rate -- about 1.23 points per possession. And for the second straight game the offense collapsed in the second half. Mason played to about the same offensive efficiency (see table above under Defense) in each half, and though they scored more efficiently off the shot in the second half, they also had a higher turnover rate. The half time adjustment Mason made and the 'Cats did not counter however, was on the boards. Villanova controlled the boards at both ends of the court in the first half, and lost control at both ends in the second half. Offensively, the 'Cats hit their outside shots in the first half as three pointers accounted for 51% of their points before the intermission. In the second half, that part of their game disappeared, reduced to 13.6% of their points.
For George Mason, a 27-6 record and a date with #1 seed Ohio State on Sunday. For Villanova, the Wildcats close the record book on the 2011 season with a 21-12 record.