Pound that thing in there. That was clearly the game plan heading into last night’s road test at George Mason.
The Will Wade-led Rams have made it a point of emphasis to get high percentage shots and 14 games into this season are now getting over 55% of their scoring inside the three-point line, making VCU the 59th most paint-attacking team in the country.
The black and gold scored 46 points in the paint against what had on paper looked like a solid front porch-defending Mason squad, but one that had yet to be tested by a team like VCU.
Coming into last night’s contest Mason had allowed just 46% shooting inside the arc, giving them basically a top-100 level two-point defense. But their opponents two-point offensive percentages prior to last night’s battled had the following national rankings and thus left room for skepticism: 174, 311, 76, 196, 220, 190, 332, 238, 276, 150, 277, 319.
The one outlier in that weak inside scoring group was 76th-ranked Houston, a Cougar team who blasted George Mason by 37 points on a neutral court earlier this season.
While the Rams didn’t match that level of domination (you can thank 21 VCU turnovers for that), the nation’s now 48th-ranked two-point percentage offense was able to hit 57.8% of their twos against Mason, taking 45 attempts inside the arc, 77.6% of their field goal attempts in last night’s win. That ratio of twos to threes was the highest VCU has taken all season long, just out-pacing wins against LSU and St. John’s earlier this season.
For a Mason team who’s main goal is to make teams shoot over them, that is a terribly defeating stat and one that proved to be the difference in a big Atlantic 10-opening win for the Rams last night.