Men’s Basketball NCAA-Bound after CAA Tournament Win
Posted: March 10, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am
Folarin Campbell scored 20 points and Will Thomas added 18 and 13 rebounds as the Patriots (23-10) beat the William & Mary Tribe, 68-59, to win the Colonial Athletic Association tournament in Richmond on Monday.
With the title, Mason earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Patriots will find out their opponent, game date, time and location on March 16 during the NCAA Selection Show on CBS.
Information on purchasing tickets for the First Round of the NCAA Tournament is posted on GoMason.com.
A link to purchase tickets will be made available for men’s basketball season ticket holders and Patriot Club members. Tickets will be awarded based on Patriot Club priority points.
Mason student ticket information is also available on GoMason.com.
Half of the 10 Mason players that took the court on Monday in the CAA Tournament Championship game had enjoyed the experience of going to the Final Four, but none of them had ever won a CAA title. That changed against William & Mary as the Patriots won their fourth conference title and third under head coach Jim Larranaga.
Will Thomas had his 15th double-double of the season, finishing with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Folarin Campbell added 20 points, six rebounds and four assists. Chris Fleming added eight points off the bench, while Cam Long had seven points, six rebounds and three assists.
The Patriots came out of the gate strong with the first four baskets coming in the paint. Will Thomas scored off an offensive rebound and on a finger roll, while Louis Birdsong scored inside three times inside to put Mason ahead 10-3.
William & Mary had more shot-clock violations (two) in the first five minutes than field goals (one, a three-pointer from Laimis Kisielius.)
When Birdsong went to the bench with two fouls less than eight minutes into the game, it looked at first as if Mason’s offense might sputter. The Tribe pulled to within three at 12-9. But Cam Long added two baskets, one a three-pointer, and Dre Smith and Thomas scored inside as the Patriots took an eight-point lead, 19-11, with 8:35 to go in the half.
That’s when the Tribe picked up the pace and started hitting shots. After starting the game four of 16, the shots finally started falling. William & Mary went on a 13-6 run fueled by three three-pointers. That made it a 25-24 game. It remained a one-point game, 27-26, at the half. Kisielius proved a one-man wrecking crew as he had 15 of the Tribe’s 26 points.
The Patriots opened the second half with a 9-0 run to take its largest lead of the night to that point as John Vaughan scored on a runner, Thomas scored on a putback, Smith scored on a pullup and Campbell hit a three-pointer. A pair of Schneider free throws finally put the Tribe on the board, but Thomas scored again inside to negate the points. Mason stretched the lead to 13 as Campbell found his long-range stroke, draining two more three-pointers to make it 48-35.
William & Mary got to within seven after the Patriots built the big lead, but no closer as Mason hit enough free throws down the stretch to preserve the lead and seal the victory.