Men’s Basketball Falls to Ohio, 69-57

Posted: February 25, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

The Mason men’s basketball team used a 16-0 run to build a 28-11 first-half lead, but was unable to stop Ohio.

The Bobcats sent the Patriots to a 69-57 road loss in the ESPN BracketBuster in Athens, Ohio.

Mason shot 63.2 percent in the first half while Ohio was held to 27.6 percent shooting. In the second half, Ohio shot 58.6 percent while Mason was held to 28.0 percent.

Folarin Campbell finished with 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists and moved into 12th place on the school’s career scoring list.

Will Thomas had nine points and nine rebounds while tying the school record for games started. John Vaughan added 12 points.

Ohio was led by Bubba Walther’s 21 points, while Leon Williams had 16 points and 11 rebounds.

The Patriots needed a quick start to help nullify a boisterous student crowd, and they got it. Mason opened the game with a 10-2 run. A basket inside from Thomas, a three-pointer from Dre Smith, a bucket from Campbell and a three-point play by Vaughan helped establish an early lead.

But the big lead didn’t last long. The Bobcats answered with a run of their own, 9-2, to cut the margin to 12-11 with 12:27 to play.

That’s when Mason went on a 16-0 run, holding Ohio scoreless for more than seven and a half minutes. The run started with a basket inside from Louis Birdsong and a three-pointer from Campbell. Mason then went into its own offensive funk with just a Campbell free throw and a Vaughan basket over the next four minutes.

The funk ended with a Smith three-pointer, quickly followed by a Cam Long basket, a Thomas free throw and a basket inside from Birdsong, making it 28-11.

The Bobcats finally scored with 4:45 to go on a Michael Allen tip-in on the offensive glass. An 8-4 run down the stretch allowed Ohio to pull to within 13 at the break, 32-19.

Ohio was a different team from the start of the horn for the second half. The Bobcats used an 8-0 run over the first four minutes of the second half to trim the Patriot lead to five.

Mason finally put a point on the board on a Campbell free throw, but Ohio answered with back-to-back baskets from Williams to make it 33-31. Two more Campbell free throws allowed Mason to make it a two-possession lead. After a Williams free throw, Thomas scored inside to make it 37-31.

That’s when Ohio answered with a 10-3 run to take its first lead of the game with 10:47 remaining in the contest.

The game remained close for the next six minutes before a pair of three-pointers at 3:56 and 3:21 gave the Bobcats a seven-point lead. Mason struggled on the offensive end down the stretch and was unable to find the rhythm it had through much of the first half.

Mason will next take the court on Wednesday as the Patriots host William and Mary on Senior Night. Tip time is slated for 9 p.m. The game will be televised on MASN.

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