Patriots Advance to CAA Tournament Semifinals

Posted: March 7, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

The Mason men’s basketball team advanced to the semifinals of the Colonial Athletic Association tournament for the third straight season following a 63-52 win over Northeastern on Saturday.

Will Thomas, making his 100th straight start, had 17 points and eight rebounds, moving into ninth place on the Mason career scoring list, third place on the career rebounding list and first place on the minutes played list. He also moved into sixth on the CAA’s career rebounding list.

Folarin Campbell moved into 10th on the career scoring list with 20 points, five rebounds and three assists. Both players surpassed 1,500 points for their career.

After Mason (21-10) opened the game with a 5-0 lead, Northeastern took control, using an 11-4 run to take its first lead of the game. The final points in that stretch came on a Janning three-pointer making it 11-9. But Mason responded by holding the Huskies (14-17) scoreless for 5:31. Over those minutes, Mason scored eight unanswered points to go ahead 17-11. A Chaisson Allen bank shot ended the draught, making it 17-13.

Mason responded with a 6-0 run this time to take a 10-point lead. Northeastern got three free throws from Allen to make it 23-16 with 5:30 to go. From there, Mason closed the half with a 10-4 run to take a 33-20 lead into the break. M

ason was 14 of 27 from the field in the first half. Thomas had nine points, and Campbell and Birdsong each had six.

Northeastern was just 7 of 19 from the field in the half with Manny Adako scoring six and Allen adding five. The Patriots committed just one turnover in the half while outrebounding the Huskies, 18-10.

After opening the second half with a back-to-back baskets to make it a 17-point lead, the Patriots saw Northeastern crank up the defense. Mason managed just one field goal over the next 5:00 and the Huskies used that time to go on a 14-4 run to pull to within seven. Eugene Spates scored nine straight for Northeastern during that run.

Things picked up for Mason when Campbell hit a basket and free throw to push it back to 10, but Janning made three free throws to once again make it a seven-point game.

Northeastern went more than seven minutes without a field goal but scored 11 straight points at the foul line to stay within reach. The Huskies got to five, 54-49, with a little more than two minutes remaining when Janning scored off his own miss.

But Dre Smith answered with an acrobatic layup with 1:41 to play and it was again a three-possession game. Campbell followed with a pair of free throws, and the Patriots made their free throws down the stretch.

Mason will return to action on Sunday when they face second-seeded UNC Wilmington at 5:30 p.m.

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