BY NATALIE HEAVREN SPORTS EDITOR
Men’s basketball improved to 13-6 and 2-4 in conference play with the team’s 73-63 win over UMass Wednesday night.
Head coach Dave Paulsen opened up the press conference by saying, “That was a great team win for our guys. They showed a ton of heart … It was an adventure out there offensively in the first half … But what I liked is, you know, our guys really buckled down on defense. They stay composed.”
Here are three takeaways from the game:
Javon Greene might be the new go-to-guy
With Justin Kier out the team has utilized the “next man up” mentality, with each player playing a few more minutes. However, over the last two games, Javon Greene has shown that he might be the team’s new go-to player.
While Greene himself has admitted that anyone can perform well on any given night, he followed his 39 point performance Saturday with a 32 point game. And not everyone can do that.
He was 9-17 from the floor and 13-16 from the free-throw line. The rest of the team shot just 13 free throws.
Greene also added seven rebounds, two assists and one steal.
If Greene can continue providing at least a stable foundation for the rest of the team, the Patriots will be in much better shape as conference play continues.
However, he is not putting any pressure on himself to continue scoring at such a high volume.
When asked if his scoring dominance will continue, Greene said, “I mean if that happens, it happens, but if not, you know, I do other things. And if another person steps up I’m more than happy for him, and you know, I’ll take it one game at a time.”
Threes at the right time are key
While Mason made just three three-pointers Wednesday night, two came from back-to-back possessions in the middle of the second half to help swing the momentum towards the Patriots.
In just 46 seconds the team went from being down five to up one after Jason Douglas-Stanley and Jordan Miller hit threes on back-to-back possessions.
The team was able to find their shots inside the arc, which will prove helpful as they play better perimeter-defending teams. However, it is also critical that the team continues to make momentum-shifting shots at the right time like they did tonight.
Josh Oduro making his mark in the post
In a career-high 27 minutes, Josh Oduro put up a career-high 11 points, while adding four rebounds and a block.
At times this season, Mason has had trouble exerting their position in the post, something Oduro will certainly be able to help with if he continues to play like this.
His performance was not just noticed by the media, but also by his teammates.
With under six and a half minutes to go in the game, Oduro made two jump shots to extend the lead from two to four, something that Greene noted in the press conference.
He said, “It lifted the whole team, you know everybody, even the crowd. And that sparked him, you know, that confidence he needed and he gave the rest of the team confidence as well, and it gave us energy. So we needed that.”
Mason returns home on Tuesday, Jan. 28 when the team takes on URI at 7 p.m.