Men’s Basketball Suffers First Home Loss of the Season

Posted: February 18, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

The Mason men’s basketball team suffered its first home loss of the season as UNC Wilmington beat the Patriots 75-73 in front of a sellout Patriot Center crowd of 9,840.

UNCW’s T.J. Carter scored on a driving layup high off the basket as time expired to give the Seahawks their first win in Fairfax since January 6, 2001.

The two teams are now tied for second in the Colonial Athletic Association with UNCW holding the tiebreaker due to a sweep of the season series.

Folarin Campbell led Mason (18-8, 10-5) with 24 points, surpassing 1,400 for his career. Will Thomas had 19 points and 14 rebounds, his CAA-leading 13th double-double of the year. He exceeded 900 rebounds for his career.

Todd Hendley had 21 points and six rebounds for UNCW (17-10, 10-5) while Chad Tomko had 18 points. Daniel Fountain had 12 and T.J. Carter finished with 15 points and eight rebounds. Vladimir Kuljanin finished with nine points and 10 rebounds.

Mason shot just 41.0 percent from the field and 29.6 percent from three-point range while UNCW was 52.8 per cent from the field and 50.0 percent from beyond the arc.

The Patriots used an 8-0 run in the final three minutes to erase a six-point deficit and take a 72-70 lead. John Vaughan’s three-pointer with 2:28 to play made it 70-67, and Jordan Carter’s three-pointer at the 1:27 mark tied the score. Dre Smith made a pair of free throws with 46 seconds to go to put the Patriots ahead.

But Todd Hendley’s basket and free throw with 26.5 to play put the Seahawks back on top, 73-72. Thomas’ free throw with six seconds to go tied the score, setting up Carter’s coast-to-coast basket.

In the second half, the Seahawks took what was a comfortable lead, considering the pace of the game, connecting on back-to-back three-pointers to break open a 44-44 game. Over the next few minutes, UNCW would go ahead by as many as seven, consistently answering every Mason comeback bid with a critical basket, be it a three-pointer from the wing or a basket in the lane. That is, until Vaughan’s tjree-pointer.

After opening the game with a 9-2 run, Mason allowed UNCW back into the game. The Seahawks scored eight straight, with most of those coming against Mason’s bench, as the Patriots used the Green Team for the first time all season.

The Patriots went more than five minutes without scoring, missing 10 straight shots as UNCW went up 10-9. Campbell’s basket and free throw put the Patriots back on top, 12-10. Neither team was able to build much of a lead until Chad Tomko’s three-pointer with just under eight minutes to go in the half put the Seahawks ahead, 21-17.

The four-point lead evaporated quickly as Vaughan hit a free throw, and off a steal, Campbell hit a three-pointer to tie the score at 21-21.

Another steal led to a Thomas basket and a two-point Mason lead, but UNCW responded with a 5-0 run to go back up by three. Later in the half, Mason was able to tie the score at 28-28 on three Thomas free throws. A Louis Birdsong blocked shot led to a Campbell fastbreak three-pointer to put the Patriots a 31-28 lead.

T.J. Carter and Kuljanin hit back-to-back baskets, though, giving the Seahawks a 32-31 advantage. Again Campbell hit a three-pointer, his fourth in the half, and the Patriots were able to take a 34-32 lead into the break. Campbell had 18 of Mason’s points at the break going six of nine from the field. The rest of the team was just five of 22.

Mason will look to rebound from the loss on Wednesday when the Patriots play Delaware at 9 p.m. in a game televised on FIOS. Note: this is a change in time from the original schedule.

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