BY DOMENIC ALLEGRA SPORTS EDITOR
On Saturday, men’s basketball fell to St. Bonaventure, 84-67, marking head coach Dave Paulsen’s eighth loss (1-8) against the Bonnies.
“We had some defensive blunders for sure,” Paulsen said. “I would say it was 50 percent our doing or lack thereof. But I would say that this is a really good team, first place team, at home. They hit some shots. When I go watch some film I’ll be very upset about our defensive coverages on some of those, but you know, like, the first shot that Welch hit was a bank.”
The Patriots fell early in the first half and never caught up.
Here are three takeaways from the game:
MASON HAD NO OFFENSIVE EDGE
The Patriots’ only lead in this game was 0-3 one minute in. For the rest of the game they were down. After the first half, St. Bonaventure outscored Mason by almost 20 points, a hole which the Patriots couldn’t climb out of.
Mason responded in the second half, outscoring the Bonnies (41-40), but it wasn’t enough even with better three-point shooting.
“They run their stuff really well, but I thought defensively [we were] really poor in the first half,” Paulsen said. “It was hard to get stops and I thought we played harder and better [in the second half]. Defensively in the second half they made some timely buckets and offensive rebounds and stuff like that. Free-throw shooting was also a real damper for us … We’re just looking for more consistency from [our] guys.”
The Patriots were out-rebounded (38-27), scored fewer points in the paint (48-28) and shot 41 percent from the free-throw line. Past games have shown that Mason does not recover well if they go down early and that was the case here.
“HISTORY DOESN’T REPEAT ITSELF, BUT IT OFTEN RHYMES”
This Mark Twain quote puts this season into perspective. This season’s results are starting to look similar to Paulsen’s first year on the helm.
The 2015-2016 season recorded only 5 conference wins, and a trajectory to losing in the play-in-game at the Atlantic 10 Tournament.
So far, with cancellations and postponements, the Patriots have mustered four conference wins, two of which they barely won against the 328th best defense in the nation. The other two included an OT win against UMass and a blow out win against an inconsistent La Salle team.
If Mason doesn’t fix its issues soon, they might be on course for an early exit in March.
NOBODY KNOWS WHO MASON IS PLAYING NEXT
According to Noah Goldberg, Mason’s next opponent, Richmond, will likely go into another COVID-19 pause on activities, leaving the Patriots without a game on their schedule.
Paulsen announced in the presser last Saturday that there should be another game set for next Saturday, Feb. 6, but that he does not know the opponent yet.
Mason’s opponents are dropping fast. Fordham announced that they would not be traveling to VCU out of an abundance of caution, leading some to believe they might be headed for another shutdown.
“You need a scorecard to keep track of who’s on pause and who’s not,” Paulsen said. “So, who knows? We’re just trying to get back to Fairfax safely and figure out who and when, or if, we’re playing.”
Mason will take the floor again Feb. 10, unless another schedule change is made.