Patriots Shake Off Rust in Exhibition Win

October 26, 2012   ·   1 Comments

Stephen Kline/Courtside Seats

Marko Gujanicic does not look like a freshman. At six feet-eight inches, Gujanicic does not play like one either.

In his first game for the Patriots, Gujanicic came off the bench and led the team in scoring with 16 points. His defensive energy and offensive skill-set, seemingly incomparable to any other freshman in recent history, marveled the crowd and kept Mason within striking distance in the first half, even despite rather uncharacteristically poor perimeter shooting.

“In terms of high pressure situations, he has about seen it all,” Paul Hewitt said.

Though he is not known particularly for his offensive production, the Patriots played a good chunk of the closing possessions through Erik Copes. On many of those possessions, Copes responded and allowed the Patriots to escape with a 76-72 advantage.

The 6-foot-8-inch sophomore, who played limited minutes behind Mike Morrison and Ryan Pearson last season, scored seven consecutive points down the stretch and filled the stat sheet with 13 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals.

“[Erik] and Marko are really strong around the basket with the ball,” Hewitt said. “It’s not a secret that we have a core of big guys that can score.”

In his first time on the floor in a Patriots uniform, Anali Okoloji impressed Hewitt with his tenacity on the defensive end. Okoloji, who earned a starting spot in the game, scored 11 points. Jonathan Arledge turned in an impressive 10-point performance and Vertrail Vaughns rounded out the set of five Patriots in double-figures with a 12-point effort on an efficient 5-for-7 from the floor. In the absence of Bryon Allen (back), Vaughns was forced to handle the ball more often than usual and, as Mason’s top distance shooter, did not attempt a 3-pointer in the game.

After recording a turnover rate of 15.2 per game last season, the Patriots continued their struggles taking care of the basketball, turning the ball over 19 times. They did, however, record 27 takeaways and limited the Bulldogs to just nine points off turnovers.

“Nineteen turnovers is still too many turnovers,“ Hewitt said. “We’re going to find, when we watch the tape, that a lot of those turnovers came because we were not strong coming to the ball.

The Patriots were without Preseason All-CAA selection Sherrod Wright who was suspended for violating athletic department rules.

“As college kids do, [Sherrod] did something not very intelligent this summer,” Hewitt said. “We took necessary action, but he’ll be back.”

Both Allen and Wright are expected to return when the Patriots take the floor in their season-opener on Nov. 9 against UVA.

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Readers Comments (1)

  1. Umm are you referring to a game or to a real life nihosvitign scope ?In most games there is an on/off switch for nihosvitign (N for CS for example ) But using it in daytime is completely useless and limits your sight.In real life its pretty much the same, you won;t be able to see much since everything is too bright or too greenHope this helps

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