Men’s Basketball Scores Second Straight Victory with 56-47 Win against Cleveland State

Posted: November 14, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

For the first time in 12 years, the Mason men’s basketball team starts their season 2-0, with a decisive win against Cleveland State, 56-47, in home action last night.

The Patriots held Cleveland State to 37.3 percent shooting from the field and outrebounded the Vikings 36-28. It’s the first time since the 1995-96 season that Mason has opened a year with back-to-back wins.

Will Thomas had 18 points on 7 of 9 shooting and eight rebounds while John Vaughan had 18 points, including 6 of 6 from the free throw line. Cedric Jackson had 20 points for Cleveland State (1-1) while Joe Davis had 11.

Vaughan, who had 18 points on 7 of 11 shooting in last year’s meeting, scored five of Mason’s first seven points. His drive into the lane was Mason’s first basket and his three-pointer from the top of the key ended an early 7-0 run that gave the Patriots a 7-3 lead. But Cleveland State responded with an 11-0 run to take a six-point edge with 11 minutes to go in the half.

Vaughan’s free throws stopped the run and pushed him to 500 points for his career as the Patriots closed to 16-12. A Thomas basket off a CSU goal-tend made it 16-14 and a Jordan Carter steal and layup off another Viking goal-tend tied the score at 16-16. After Thomas took a charge, the third for Mason in the half, Thomas converted a pair of free throws to give Mason the lead.

Mason’s run continued with points coming from long range. Vaughan, Folarin Campbell and Dre Smith each had three-pointers and Vaughan had a jumper in the paint as Mason finished off a 19-3 run. Cleveland State got a timely official timeout and responded by closing out the half with 9-2 run that made it 31-28 at the half. Vaughan had 12 points and Thomas had 11 at the break, and each was 4 of 6 from the field. Mason had an 18-8 edge in points off turnovers and an 8-1 edge in second-chance points.

The second half was an uneven affair in the early going. Neither team seemed capable of establishing a rhythm and after seven-plus minutes, the teams had combined for just 11 points. Mason went more than six minutes without scoring a point between Thomas’ basket and free throw at the 17:52 mark and Cam Long’s free throw at 11:43, his first collegiate point.

During that stretch Cleveland State chipped into Mason’s eight-point lead, but their own ineptness kept them from taking a lead. Their best chance came with a little more than 10 minutes to go but Vaughan and Vlad Moldoveanu each had blocks on a CSU fastbreak and Mason remained in the lead. Moldoveanu’s three-pointer on the ensuing possession put the Patriots ahead 40-36.

With Mason up 48-40, the Patriots looked to be in good shape. But Cedric Jackson hit an off-balance three-pointer as the shot-clock expired to make it 48-43, and Thomas missed a pair of free throws, giving the Vikings new life. But they were unable to capitalize, and Mason closed the game outscoring CSU 8-4 over the final 3:45.

Mason will next take the court on Saturday when the Patriots host Dayton at 7 p.m. at the Patriot Center. The Flyers are 1-0 and will have had a week off since a season-opening 78-74 home win over East Tennessee State.

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