Maryland prevails over Mason in BB&T Classic
Patrick Holloway started his basketball day as a deep reserve on George Mason's bench, having played only five minutes in the Patriots previous game.
By the end of Sunday's 69-62 loss to Maryland in the BB&T Classic, the freshman guard was the first player on either team mention by the opposing coach. Making your first five field goal attempts including a pair of 3-pointers will have that affect.
"What a special scorer that kid is," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. "I watched him last year when I was out recruiting. To bring it to this level against us was pretty amazing."
What Holloway brought for the Patriots (5-3) was 17 points, matching Sherrod Wright for team-high honors, plus three 3-pointers.
"Overall he's a great player," Terrapins guard Nick Faust said. "He's definitely a Stephen Curry type. I would say. He has a fluid shot...He definitely lit us up in the beginning."
Even for a college kid the Fairfax native has a rather boyish look, but the former Paul VI star also has a true assassin's edge offensively. Having already hit his first two shots, last year's all-met Player of the Year drained two from beyond the arc during a 52-second stretch that helped change momentum nearing halftime.
"My teammates looked for me and found for a couple of open shots," Holloway said. "That kind of got me going...When I knocked one or two that kind of got me going."
Playing a season-high 22 minutes, Holloway finished 7 of 13 from the field with zero turnovers. In this instance, more Holloway meant less Vertrail Vaughns. The junior guard did play for the first time in a game this season.
"You saw we changed the rotation a little bit today," said George Mason coach Paul Hewitt, who also worked swingman Vaughn Gray into the playing mix." They are shot-makers; they can stretch the floor for us. There were opportunities where our bigs could slip to the basket, but we didn't take advantage, full advantage of what he can do."
George Mason trailed by nine early and 34-30 at halftime before opening the second half with a 7-0 for its first lead of the game. The Terrapins regained the lead with 10 minutes remaining and despite 19 turnovers and string of missed free throws eventually gained separation late.
Holloway's streak of successful makes ended before halftime and Maryland game planned for the 6-foot-1 from there. Eventually the Terps caught up to the Patriots' ways on both ends.
"We can't simulate their quickness in practice," Turgeon said. "We turned the ball over a lot - actually we turned the ball over the whole game. 19 turnovers and 16 missed free throws kind of kept the game close. I thought our defense was outstanding. Did a much better job on Holloway in the second half."
Back in March, Holloway led Paul VI to the City Title championship victory on the same Verizon Center court. Asked if he viewed this spotlight event as an opportunity to showcase his game, Holloway said, "Right now I see every game as an opportunity."
Despite the shooting efforts from Holloway and Wright, the Patriots shot 31 percent (22 of 71) from the field. Johnny Williams finished 3 of 13 and fellow starter Bryon Allen missed all eight of his field goal attempts.
Struggling to generate points since returning from the Paradise Jam Tournament, the Patriots are shooting 34.6 percent over their last three games.
"We had our chances, let some things slip away over the second half," Hewitt said. "Some pretty good shot selection, moved the ball well, but once we got the lead I thought our shot selection, our decision-making -- which has been up and down all year defensively kind of deserted us. We continue to play good defense. If we ever get ourselves together offensively, we have a chance to be a pretty good team."
Holloway certainly made his case for being part of the solution.