Word on the Street: Mason-Bucknell notes

Word on the Street: Mason-Bucknell notes
December 1, 2011, 2:15 pm
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By Benjamin Standig
CSNwashington.comHighlightsfrom George Mason's 61-57 win over Bucknell, the Patriots 18th straightvictory at the Patriot Center. Plus the Terps lose a runner, Wizards reach out to Nick Young and Roy Helu's opportunity...Key stats, team: season-low eight turnovers after averaging 16.2 over first six games34-18 points in the paint advantagemade more free throws (19) than Bucknell attempted (12)held the Bison without a fast break point.Key stats, players: Saddled with foul trouble early in the second half, Ryan Pearson scored 13 of his 16 points after halftime, making 7-of-8 free throw attempts including five inside the final five minutesBryon Allen scored 12 points, his five assists and three steals paced the Patriots and the Largo native matched Mike Morrisons team-high seven rebounds, all without committing a turnoverKey stretch: With 4:34 remaining and Bucknell leading 53-51, Bison center Mike Muscala picked up his fourth foul, which sent the reigning Patriot League Player of the Year to the bench and Ryan Pearson to the free throw line. Muscala was benched for all of 54 game seconds, but in that time Pearson's free throws and Vertrail Vaughns' layup put the Patriots ahead and as it turned out for good.Benched earlier in the season for his high turnover ways, Bryon Allen returned to the starting lineup with Corey Edwards (concussion) in street clothes and turned in a controlled performance. George Mason coach Paul Hewitt said it was in the previous game against Albany where he could, see Allen figure it out" and there was more of that in a commanding first half. As Pearson sat out nearly half of the opening 20 minutes, the sophomore point guard scored 10 points, including five during each 14-4 run that opened and closed the first half.Paris Bennett played five minutes, his first action of the season after missing the first six games with ankle injury. Hewitt said the 6-6 sophomore is not 100 percent, but still felt comfortable using Bennett, who averaged 1.1 points and 8.9 minutes last season,to spell Allen at the point. "He's a really smart player, and that's why I actually had him at the point to give Bryon some minutes," said Hewitt said. "He got us into stuff."Though still limited, playing time going forward should not be a problem considering Bennett's versatile ways."You can move him around. He can play the four, he can play the three, he can play the two. I have no problem giving him the ball," Hewitt said.Corey Edwards suffered the concussion during a recent practice, taking an inadvertent elbow to the head according to Hewitt, who offered no concrete timetable for the freshmans return. The Patriots next game is on Saturday at winless Towson, George Masons first conference game of the season.Mixed bag on the defensive front; Bucknell guard Cameron Ayers torched the nets in the second half, scoring 18 of his 23 points and connecting on his first shots including four from distance. However, Bison starters Bryson Johnson and Bryan Cohen, who entered averaging 18.7 ppg, missed all 13 of their field goal attempts.Ayers sank 5-of-8 from beyond the arc, but his teammates were a combined 0-for-12.Sherrod Wright (14 points) entered the week leading the CAA in field goal percentage (62.2) and his 5-of-8 performance will not hurt the cause. The slashing 6-4 guard remains aggressive on his sojourns to the rim despite a recent wrist injury.Summary: Without their starting point guard, without Pearson for long stretches of the opening 20-plus minutes, without an answer most of the game against a hot 3-point shooter, the Patriots gritted their way to a victory over the Patriot League favorite. The offense remains herky jerky in spots and the Patriots were outrebounded (36-32) but Pearson's second-half surge covered up any scoring woes andHewitt liked what he saw on the defensive end. Quality win for the Patriots, their third straight.Terps TalkPerhaps the first of many Maryland football player set to transfer, sophomore running back D.J. Adams announced he has been granted a release from the University of Maryland.This just in: Randy Edsall needs to prove himself (Reid - Washington Post)Maryland fans can stop dreaming about Mike Leach now that the former Texas Tech coach has taken the Washington State gig (Associated Press)Jaguars, take Edsall...please (Washington Examiner)Breakfast BuffetHelu's cool opportunity (O'Halloran - CSNwashington)Wizards waste no time talking to reps fo free agent Nick Young (Washington Post)At what point is George McPhee the next to go (Loverro - Washington Examiner)