(Jenny Krashin/Broadside)

(Jenny Krashin/Broadside)

Mason’s men’s basketball team’s 2012-2013 regular season came to a conclusion with a loss to the University of Delaware, with a final score 82-77. After a several week stint at the top of the CAA at the start of the season, Mason has fallen to finish in fifth place. However, due to sanctions against Towson University,barring them from postseason play, Mason is ranked fourth in the CAA tournament. They will start the first round against fifth seed Drexel on March 9.

The Delaware loss further perpetuates Mason’s rollercoaster season, which is out of control with inconsistency. Mason was up 74-69, with just over two minutes to go, and let up an 11-zero run that cost them the game.

All season long, Mason has been hot and cold but often able to find a little bit of fire when they need it most. However, the last two games of the season are proof that it sometimes comes too little too late.

Mason was down by as many as 10 points against Towson University on Jan. 23, before coming back in the last minute to go into overtime. However, the momentum Mason had started was lost as the Patriots only put up two points in five minutes of play.

Patriot number four, Erik Copes, had a fantastic night featuring a double double with a career high 15 rebounds. However, the Patriots weak shooting percentage of 39.7 could not compete with Towson’s 49.2. On March 2, the Patriots let the Blue Hens also shoot 49 percent from the field, and put up 43 percent themselves.

The shooting percentage, while not awful, will have to be consistently better than their opponents throughout the tournament for the Patriots to win it all. Throughout several of their last few games, the Patriots have been letting their opponents shoot upward of 50 percent. Top teams in the nation shoot an average around, and often above, 50 percent such as Indiana, Gonzaga or the University of Florida. Mason is 15-2 when they win the shooting percentage battle. Additionally, the Patriots will have to perform better on rebounds.

“We lose when we do not rebound well,” said Patriots’ head coach, Paul Hewitt.

Mason is 13-6 when out rebounding their opponents and 4-6 when they lose at the boards. The connection here is when Mason is not getting an offensive rebound they are missing a second chance to make up on their shooting percentage and to take away from their opponents’.

“I had 15 rebounds, but I should have had 20,” Copes said.

The struggles and things to focus on are different in each game, but in every game shooting well and rebounding are key. Mason will have to plan accordingly for each game and hope they can find some consistency in performing it throughout the entire game.

“We had a plan but it didn’t work for us in the first half … It worked for three of the four halves we’ve played them [Towson],” Hewitt said.

If Mason wants to make the NCAA, they have to win the CAA. If they want to win the CAA, they are going to have to rebound and shoot well for three tough games. A win against Drexel means a matchup against Northeastern, regular season champions and the tournament’s number one seed, on March 10. The winner of that game plays for all the marbles a day later against either James Madison University, Hofstra, William and Mary or Delaware, depending on how the rest of the bracket plays out.