Men’s Basketball Season Comes to an End in Opening Round of NCAA Tournament
Posted: March 21, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am
The George Mason men’s basketball played in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday evening and despite playing 40 minutes of basketball, the game was decided in a seven-minute span.
Early in the first half, with Mason holding a one-point lead, Notre Dame went on a 17-0 run to take control of the game and the lead remained in double figures throughout. The fifth-seeded Fighting Irish were able to take a 68-50 win over the 12th-seeded Patriots in front of 19,282 fans in Denver, Colo. It was a season-low for Mason in points scored.
Will Thomas had 25 points and seven rebounds to lead Mason, going 10 of 14 from the field. But he was the only Patriot in double figures. Folarin Campbell, who entered the game averaging 20 points in the previous 17 games, having scored at least 15 in all of those contests, was just 1 of 12 from the field and finished with four points. Luke Harangody had 18 points and 14 rebounds for Notre Dame while Kyle McAlarney added 15 points and four assists and Ryan Ayers had 12 points.
After opening game 3 for 3 from the field and taking the aforementioned lead, things fell apart for the Patriots. Notre Dame went on its run while Mason missed seven straight shots and failed to score for more than seven minutes. The run started with Harangody scoring five points on a pair of baskets and a free throw, and four 3-pointers by three different players extended the run and when it ended, Notre Dame was up 23-7 with less than 11 minutes to go in the half.
Later on in the half, the Patriots went through another scoreless stretch, this time of five minutes. However, the defense was up to the task this time, holding Notre Dame to just two points over that stretch. The defense allowed just six points over a span of more-than nine minutes, but Mason scored just eight points during that period and trailed by 14 with three minutes to go in the half. At the break, the deficit was 12, 33-21.
Mason’s energy was much higher at the start of the second half but the Patriots saw themselves fall further behind as Notre Dame opened the half with a 10-4 run to go ahead by 18. Mason continued to get almost all of its offense from Thomas as he scored nine of Mason’s first 13 second-half points. Notre Dame finished off the Patriots with a 7-0 run that saw them turn a 48-36 game into a 55-36 affair, their largest lead of the game.