The last two games, we’ve seen Micah Mason get the royal treatment from both Fordham and LaSalle to limit the Dukes’ ace to only three attempts from beyond the arc combined. As one might expect, teams don’t seem to like allowing 60% three point shooters to even touch the ball. LaSalle didn’t do anything extremely complicated to stop him either as they simply had their best defensive guard, Sam Mills mostly, face Mason up never leaving his side or giving him any space. Unfortunately, the Dukes have done little to find ways to create shots for Micah, but what can they do to get him more involved?
Make Mason a Bigger Part of the Offense
This sounds incredibly simplified but I think Mason has served more as a decoy to create space inside for his teammates than he has to actually get the ball. Ferry has said time and time again that he doesn’t want the team relying on three pointers. The offense seems to revolve around getting into the paint either off a pick and roll, through a post up or driving the lane. Mason keeps one defender out of the way on the perimeter. I’d love to see more plays designed to get Mason the open shot especially when I consider that he shots three pointers about as well as the rest of the team shoots lay ups and runners.
Work Inside Out
It feels like, when the ball goes inside for Duquesne, it won’t come out again. Players drive the lane, get tunnel vision and ignore that the collapsing help defense that’s gotten the ball triple covered has left Mason wide open on the wing. Likewise, when a help defender assists in the post up, they need to kick it back out more often. Honestly, this doesn’t just go for Mason. I’d like to see the Dukes do work inside out more in general.
The Mason threat kept Fordham honest in the paint at least in the first half. In the second, they adjusted realizing they could collapse. LaSalle did the same but for the entire game. If the only time Mason gets the ball is when it’s still on the perimeter, defenses will know they can tighten up once the ball gets inside. Until the Dukes work the drive and kick or the inside out give and go consistently, not only will Mason get few good opportunities to shoot but the interior players chances will become more difficult.
Screens Screen Screens
I’d love to see the Dukes set more screens for him. Double – post screens. Hand offs screens. I don’t care. Make it happen. When you have a single guy playing man that tight on him, the Dukes should be looking to at least force a switch and create a mismatch elsewhere. Honestly, the time and space that it takes for a defender to shoot the gap on a screen might be enough for Mason to get a shot off.
I’d also like to see Mason move a little more off the ball. The entire blame shouldn’t fall on him Mason’s teammates for not finding him in space but for him not finding space for himself.
At the end of the day, the offense likely won’t be an issue for Duquesne consistently but it gets difficult to fight the urge to become a living room coach following their struggles against LaSalle. However, games like yesterday’s can frustrate any fan into overlooking the larger sample for the smaller one. Again credit to the Explorers for killing it on defense. They contributed to a lot of the Dukes’ frustration, but I think Duquesne could have found ways to make LaSalle’s afternoon a little more frustrating in return. Getting the ball into Mason’s hands in good position would have helped.