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Mason, bench mates Embiid, Traylor take 3 of top 4 spots

1. Frank Mason: Shook team out of a fog with typical style, leading with his chin and with head held high. His 13-point day included a big three-pointer from top of key. Also did a nice job of baiting defense into thinking he as going to drive, then pulled back his dribble to behind the three-point line and fed Joel Embiid for an easy dunk. Fearless competitor knows how to lead a team. Wasn’t perfect — one lob was thrown from too far away from hoop and sailed way over Embiid’s reach — but has a knack for making team play better by adding juice to it.

2. Joel Embiid: Made his presence felt in so many ways with so many memorable plays in just 15 minutes on the floor. Surprised by a pass in transition, he caught it and quickly put it off the glass with his left hand for a bucket. Showed such smooth footwork with reverse layin. Rebounded out of his area and long presence caused a couple of turnovers. Four fouls limited his playing time, but was still out there long enough to total 10 points, six rebounds and three blocked shots.

3. Andrew Wiggins: Other than a drive into the lane punctuated by a swish and step into the passing lane to steal a pass, he had a rough first half. Heated up to score 12 of his team-high 17 points in the second half.

4. Jamari Traylor: Bad, bad foul with 1:08 left on three-point shooter, even if it might have been a borderline call, but otherwise played well, playing aggressively, looking to score and bringing energy. Had 10 points and four rebounds.

5. Perry Ellis: Off his game, he had four turnovers, but did contribute nine points and team-high six rebounds. Was slow to get to shooters on defense.

6. Wayne Selden: A nice drive here, a big-time-looking jumper from the left wing there, Selden didn’t consistently put his positive stamp on the game to the extent he usually does.

7. Andrew White III: Hustled his way to six points and four rebounds in 17 minutes. Always plays aggressively and when he’s on from long range that can translate to big scoring nights. This wasn’t one of them. He misfired on all three three-pointers.

8. Naadir Tharpe: Turned it over just once in 27 minutes, but didn’t make a lot happen in terms of creating opportunities for others. Made 1 of 5 shots and is shooting .316 on the season.

9. Tarik Black: Started the game strong with a couple of put-back hook shots, but quickly got into foul trouble and never became a factor after that.

10. Conner Frankamp: Made 4 of 6 free throws and picked up a rebound in nine minutes.

Season standings

  1. Andrew Wiggins (49 points)
  2. Perry Ellis (44)
  3. Joel Embiid (44)
  4. Frank Mason (38)
  5. Wayne Selden Jr. (36)
  6. Andrew White III (30)
  7. Naadir Tharpe (24)
  8. Tarik Black (21)
  9. Jamari Traylor (18)
  10. Conner Frankamp (14)
  11. Brannen Greene (7)
  12. Landen Lucas (7)
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Comments

Ashwin Rao 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Very impressed with Frank! He was an unheralded player coming in, and is not one of our best players!

Aaron Paisley 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Mason has definitely been a positive revelation and appears well on his way to being someone who significantly overachieves to his rating. Joel Embiid has come on quicker than I think most people anticipated and is getting better every week. At this point, I will say with a lot of confidence that if Embiid does stay next year, I believe he'll be the 2014-15 national player of the year. Andrew Wiggins is doing about what I expected (he's underachieving to a lot of people's expectations though) by averaging 17 and 6. He also appears to want to be an elite defender which is never a bad thing.

This team is going to be on the short list of national title contenders all year and they deserve it. I've been able to see most of the top teams this year already and Kansas and Okie St. have been the two most impressive teams I've seen so far. Arizona and Syracuse are the two teams in the discussion I haven't seen yet, but I'm really looking forward to watching the NIT title game tonight to see more than a couple of minutes of Arizona. I'm also looking forward to seeing the Syracuse-Indiana game next Tuesday.

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