[PREVIEW] George Mason vs. South Florida -- Men's Basketball

Sherrod Wright has scored in double-figures in all seven contests this season (photo by John Irwin).
Sherrod Wright has scored in double-figures in all seven contests this season (photo by John Irwin).

The Mason men’s basketball team hosts the University of South Florida tonight at 7 p.m. at the Patriot Center. The Bulls and Patriots (5-2) meet for the second time in program history, with USF having won the last meeting in Tampa last season, 61-57. As the Bulls look to remain unbeaten on the road, the Patriots look to remain unbeaten at home.

South Florida at a glance

USF (4-2) is on a two-game losing streak heading into this matchup, with losses to Detroit and No. 5 Oklahoma State. Mason is coming off a 61-54 win over Rhode Island, after dropping their two previous matches to Iona and Princeton on the road.

USF left the Big East and joined the American Athletic Conference this year, after finishing the 2012-2013 season with a record of 12-19 overall, and 3-15 in conference play.

The Bulls are much improved over last season. USF is ranked tied for second in the AAC and tied for 19th nationally with 6.7 blocked shots per game, nearly double the team’s last season average of 3.4. The team’s overall scoring average is also up, averaging 72.8 points per game compared to last season’s 58.8.

Returning players

2012 – 2013 Statistics

Victor Rudd – Forward – 6’9” – 12.3 PPG – 6.9 RPG – 1.1 APG

Anthony Collins – Guard – 6’1” – 8.6 PPG – 2.3 RPG – 6.5 APG

Martino Brock – Guard – 6’5” – 5.5 PPG – 3.7 RPG – 1.2 APG 

Senior forward Victor Rudd and junior guard Anthony Collins played on the 2011-2012 NCAA tournament team together, and were named to the 2013-2014 American Preseason All-Conference Second Team. Rudd, Collins and senior guard Martino Brock are the three starters returning for USF this season.

Rudd has NBA range and leads his team in scoring, averaging 14.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per game this season. With two strong freshman additions to the team this year, Rudd has had the ability to play where he is best suited at the small forward spot.

Collins is a solid back court player, and leads his team in assists, averaging 5.0 and 7.5 points per game this season after missing the first two games of the season due to swelling in his knee.

Brock leads his team in steals, averaging 2.5 and 10.3 points per game this season. Brock had a season-high 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting in the team’s last game against Detroit.

Incoming threats 

2013 – 2014 Statistics

John Egbunu – Center – 6’10” – 8.3 PPG – 7.0 RPG – 0.0 APG

Chris Perry – Forward – 6’8” – 7.8 PPG – 4.0 RPG – 0.2 APG

Freshman center John Egbunu, the 64th best prospect in the country according to ESPN RecruitingNation, has the jumping ability and aggressiveness to attack the rim. Egbunu leads his team in blocks and rebounding, averaging 2.3 and 7.0 per game this season. Egbunu has already tallied seven dunks, with five of them as an alley-oop pass from Collins.

Freshman forward Chris Perry is a solid low-post player, averaging 7.8 points and 4.0 rebounds per game this season.

How Mason stacks up

These two teams are very familiar with each other, with assistant coach Mike Wells and Eric Skeeters switching benches in the off-season.

The Bulls have size and will use a zone defense to challenge the Patriots’ offense when driving the lane. Mason will need Patrick Holloway and Vaughn Gray to connect on open-look threes that are likely to come against the Bulls’ collapsing zone defense.

Jalen Jenkins had a breakout performance in the team’s last game against URI, with 11 rebounds and 5 blocks. Jenkins will look to assert his presence down low in this matchup.

This will be a physical game, and Mason will have to stay out of foul trouble to keep their key players on the floor. The Patriots will need to improve their intensity at the start of the game and not allow USF to breakout with a big lead, which was a contributing factor in the losses to Iona and Princeton this season.









No votes yet
Student Media Group: