Well, that was a long ride home. I’ve had some time to let last night’s 62-61 loss at George Mason process, and here are some thoughts.
No. 1: Look, it wasn’t just that George Mason needed a Sherrod Wright 28-footer at the horn with Rob Brandenberg in his grill to win it. The Patriots needed a perfect sequence of about five things to happen to win that game. And they got them all. Three 3-pointers, a fall away baseline jumper by Vaughn Gray, a single missed VCU free throw. All of them. You tip your cap to George Mason for making those plays and you move forward.
The only play that really bothered me was the offensive rebound that led to Ryan Pearson’s 3-pointer. That one was tough. Shaka Smart acknowledged the play in his postgame press conference.
“We were probably one rebound away from winning the game,” he said.
No. 2: Freshman Briante Weber has nothing to hang his head about. This loss does not fall at his feet. The rookie made 5-of-6 free throws down the stretch – not to mention two big free throws late at Old Dominion.
No. 3: Ryan Pearson is the best player in the league right now. His 24-point, 11-rebound effort confirmed that. He, as well as Mike Morrison, a couple of veterans, really frustrated VCU sophomore bigs Juvonte Reddic (4 points, 1-of-8 FG) and D.J. Haley (2 points, 2 rebounds). Two veterans playing like vets. Hopefully, Reddic and Haley will study this game and learn from it.
No. 4: The Rams are going to have to close games better. Teams are going to make runs, but VCU lived dangerously in a number of contests before Tuesday. The good news is that the Rams, up until Tuesday, were able to pull out those close games.
No. 5: VCU is FINE. The Rams just lost to a good team on the road by one point on a 28-footer. Relax. At this point, the CAA No. 1 seed is probably out of reach, so really, it’s a matter of which team will be the two or three seed. That’s about it. The Rams were probably going to have to run the table to the CAA final to merit NCAA at-large consideration, a really tall order. Now, it’s probably not relevant.
No. 6: Big Shot Bradford Burgess is back. He hit two huge 3-pointers late in yesterday’s game, one to tie, one to give the Rams a 54-51 lead. He’s making clutch shots again. I like VCU’s chances.