Men’s Basketball Holds Off Hampton to Improve to 7-2

Posted: December 6, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

The Mason men’s basketball team rallied in the final eight minutes to beat Hampton, 57-54, at Patriot Center. The Patriots improved to 4-0 at home on the year.

Folarin Campbell led Mason (7-2) with 16 points, while John Vaughan added 12 and Louis Birdsong had 10. Will Thomas had eight points, 11 rebounds, two assists and two steals. Rashad West had 22 for Hampton (4-4), the only Pirate in double figures.

The first half saw Mason control the boards, but the Patriots turned the ball over 11 times. Mason was able to take an eight-point lead into the half because of two runs.

The first came with Mason down 4-2 after nearly five minutes of play. Birdsong’s free throws were followed by three-pointers from Vaughan and Campbell, and Mason found itself up 10-4. Vaughan’s three-pointer came on an assist from Campbell, the 300th of his career.

The Patriots kept their foot on the gas and it resulted in a 14-3 run that saw Mason ahead 16-7. Later in the half, with Mason nursing a 19-16 lead, the Patriots got two baskets in the paint from Campbell and two from Thomas as a 13-5 run gave Mason an 11-point lead.

A three-pointer by Brandon Tunnel in the final minute allowed the Pirates to go into the break with a single-digit deficit.

The second half had one major run as Hampton, down 11, went on a 14-4 run to cut the Mason lead to three. Trailing 43-32, Matthew Pilgrim started things with a dunk, and Simpson followed with a three-pointer.

After Thomas scored inside for Mason, Pirates Adrian Woodard hit a free throw, Micheal Freeman followed with two more free throws and West added a layup to make it 45-42.

Birdsong’s jumper put Mason up five, but Simpson answered with a three-pointer and West added a pair of free throws to tie the score at 47-47.

After more than two scoreless minutes, Mason finally retook the lead, this time on a Campbell basket in the lane. Two possessions later, Vaughan scored on a drive. On a technical foul on Hampton head coach Kevin Nickelberry, Campbell added a free throw to put Mason ahead 52-47 with less than five minutes to play.

Donte Harrison scored a second-chance basket to pull the Pirates to within three, but Vaughan scored on a fastbreak layup to once again make it a five-point lead.

Hampton’s answer came from West, who scored on a drive and drained an ensuing free throw to make it 54-52. Hampton had a chance to take the lead, but after a Pirate miss, Campbell sank a three-pointer to put Mason back up by five.

West scored on a drive to make it 57-54 with 44 seconds to go. The score stayed that way until the final possession, a West three-pointer that came up short.

Mason will next take the court on Saturday when the Patriots play at Kent State in a return of last year’s ESPN BracketBuster contest. Tip on Saturday is 2 p.m.

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