Men’s Basketball Falls at Old Dominion, 72-64

Posted: February 11, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

The Mason men’s basketball team entered Saturday’s game having lost just once since Jan. 9. But the Patriots fell at Old Dominion, 72-64, in Colonial Athletic Association action.

The Monarchs (12-13, 7-6) closed the first half with a 12-3 run to take an 11-point lead into the break and denied Mason (17-7, 9-4) many easy baskets in the second half.

Mason did pull to within five in the closing minutes, but Brandon Johnson’s three-pointer with 1:22 to go gave the Monarchs enough of a cushion and they hit free throws down the stretch to seal the win.

Will Thomas had 18 points and 16 rebounds for Mason. It was his 11th double-double of the season, which leads the CAA. He surpassed 1,400 points on his career and moved into 12th on the school’s career points list.

Folarin Campbell had 28 points, a new career high. He moved into 14th on the school’s career points list. John Vaughan was held scoreless in just 21 minutes of action. He had scored in double figures in 15 straight games, which had been the longest active streak in the CAA.

The first half was one of runs, and Old Dominion’s two trumped Mason’s one. The Monarchs opened the game with a 12-5 run, but the Patriots trimmed the lead to 12-9 with Folarin Campbell scoring Mason’s first seven points and handing out an assist to Cam Long that made it a three-point game.

Old Dominion pushed the lead to double figures, going ahead 24-13. That’s when Mason rallied, outscoring the Monarchs 15-6 to make it a 30-28 game. Abdi Lidonde had ODU’s answer, making three three-pointers in the final 4:07 of the half. The Monarchs closed the half with an 12-3 run. They allowed one Mason field goal in the final 4:25.

Old Dominion’s 42-31 halftime lead represented the most points allowed by Mason in a first half all season. Lidonde led the Monarchs with 13 points on five of five shooting, including three of three from three-point range. Thomas had 12 points and seven rebounds for Mason, while Campbell had 10 points.

Faced with an 11-point halftime deficit after giving up its most points all season in a first half, Mason was unable to make any impact in the opening minutes of the second half. The Patriots needed more than four minutes to record a field goal, allowing Old Dominion to build a 48-34 lead with 15 minutes to play.

Mason will next take the court on Wednesday when the Patriots travel to Towson to take on the Tigers in a game televised on MASN. Tip time for that contest is 9 p.m.

Meanshile, the 14th-ranked Mason men’s volleyball team (6-3) pulled out a dramatic five-game victory over the seventh-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes (7-2) in the annual Uvaldo Acosta Memorial Match on Saturday at the Field House.

Leading the match 2-1, Mason dropped the fourth game 30-27, but rebounded to win a close fifth game, 15-13, to end the match.

With the score tied at nine in the fifth game, Mason took a one-point lead when sophomore Ryan Kwiatkowski set up Kyle Gramit for the kill. On the next rally, Gramit and senior R.J. Goubeaux combined to block Robbie Klein’s swing to put the Patriots up by two. Mason never relinquished its lead, trading points with Ohio State until the end of the match.

The Patriots opened up the match with a 30-27 win in the first game, but the Buckeyes answered right back, taking the second game 30-25 to even the score at one game apiece.

The third game was a wild back-and-forth affair, featuring 15 ties and seven lead changes. Mason faced game point at 31-30 but fought back valiantly, taking the next three points to take a 2-1 lead in the match. The Patriots got back-to-back kills by Gramit and Goubeaux before Klein’s wild swing landed out of bounds to give Mason the win.

Mason took a 6-1 lead in the fourth game but was unable to hold onto the lead. The Buckeyes took their first lead of the match at 16-15 and went on to take a 30-27 win to tie the match at two and set the stage for the fifth game.

Gramit led the team in kills with 20, while junior Hudson Bates finished with 17. Goubeaux gave the Buckeyes trouble all night long, finishing with 16 kills on .652 hitting and 10 blocks. Kwiatkowski tallied 57 assists in the match and senior Mark Burik recorded 15 digs at the libero spot.

Klein recorded a double-double in the losing effort, finishing with 20 kills and 10 digs. Senior Brett Versen hit. .325 with 23 kills and seven digs.

In between the second and third games, the Patriots paid tribute to men’s volleyball legend Uvaldo Acosta with a moving slideshow featuring footage from his playing and coaching career at Mason.

Acosta’s family attended, along with a collection of former George Mason men’s volleyball players, back in town for Alumni Weekend.

The Patriots face a tough test in their next match, as they travel to University Park, Pa., to take on second-ranked Penn State in a 7 p.m. EIVA Tait Division contest.

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