George Mason might be in their most important early stretch of the Atlantic 10 season. They are in the middle of a 3 game homestand having lost the first game to Davidson, 86-59.
With that backdrop, the Patriots faced St. Joe’s in an early season “must win”. St. Joe’s was going for their third straight win and after being down by 12, had came back to take the lead with 5 seconds left.
With the ball under St. Joe’s basket, Coach Dave Paulsen had to come up with a design that would give them a realistic shot at a 3. He did that by taking the hot shooting Otis Livingston II OFF the ball. When your point guard has been the best shooter all night and he’s the one who can get the ball down the floor faster than anyone, coaches would be tempted to have the ball in his hands. But, if Paulsen was to do that, it would’ve been easy for Coach Phil Martelli to use a myriad of defenses to get the ball out of Livingston II’s hands taking all the advantages away.
So, instead, Coach Paulsen had Justin Kier throw the ball in with the intent of him getting it back with his momentum going towards the basket. Once Kier got the ball back full steam, he came up the right side of the floor, the same side Otis Livingston II was stationed. With his defender in trail, it forced Livingston II’s defender takes a slight step up so he could provide a contest if Kier pulled up.
That put the Patriots in a perfect position for a hand back to Livingston II. The hand back guarantees a clean look from roughly 28 feet. That’s better than what we’ve seen this season where players are shooting against double teams or heaving it from half court. With that clean look, Livingston II, who finished 10-13 from the floor, drained the game winner and puts Mason in the position to go 2-1 on the three game homestand with a win over St. Louis.