Men’s Basketball Continues Hot Streak

Posted: January 18, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

The George Mason men’s basketball team continued its winning streak on Tuesday, and the Patriots were able to exact revenge for a loss suffered two weeks ago.

Mason held off several first-half College of William and Mary (10-7, 3-4) rallies before eventually pulling away to a 76-63 road win over the Tribe.

Junior Will Thomas scored 19 points on 8 of 10 shooting, and junior Folarin Campbell and sophomore John Vaughan each hit four three-pointers as Mason put together its first four-game winning streak since last year’s NCAA Tournament.

Mason made 13 of 19 shots to open the game, while forcing seven Tribe turnovers. After William and Mary rallied from, first, a 15-point deficit, and later, a 14-point deficit, the Patriots pulled away in the second half, using a 30-15 run to improve to 10-7 on the season, 4-3 in Colonial Athletic Association action.

Junior Jordan Carter continued his hot play for Mason, setting a new career high with 12 points.

The Patriots jumped out to a 15-point lead behind good jump shooting and strong inside play. Carter hit a three-pointer to start the game, junior Darryl Monroe made a pair of baskets on the inside and Thomas hit a basket in the paint and converted a free throw.

That opened things up for the Mason shooters. Campbell hit a pull-up jumper, then Vaughan and Campbell each hit three-pointers. Freshman Louis Birdsong scored an uncontested layup to make it 20-5 with 12:40 to play. Corey Cofield scored five straight points for the Tribe to stop the bleeding, and Kyle Carrabine drained a three-pointer to extend it to an 8-0 William and Mary run. Nathan Mann’s runner off the glass brought William and Mary to within five.

A Campbell steal and Carter layup ended the Mason scoring drought and started a 13-4 run. Monroe had a basket and free throw, Thomas scored inside and Carter and sophomore Dre Smith hit three-pointers while William and Mary managed just a pair of baskets from Laimis Kisielius. That left the Patriots with a 33-19 edge with a little more than six minutes to go in the half.

The Tribe rallied to close the deficit to seven before the half behind an active 2-3 zone. David Schneider had a four-point play behind a three-pointer and a foul shot, and after his backdoor layup, Kisielius hit a three-pointer. Peter Stein added a basket and Adam Payton had a pair of free throws.

Mason, meanwhile, managed just three Will Thomas baskets, two on dunks, to make it a 39-32 game at the break. For Mason, it tied a season-high for most first-half points, set in the previous outing against James Madison University.

The second half opened with a William and Mary scoring burst as the Tribe made it a two-point game. But Mason responded with a 14-3 run behind Thomas, who scored twice inside and, when the Tribe triple-teamed him, found an open Vaughan for a pair of three-pointers.

Carter and Smith also had transition baskets in the run, as William and Mary was held to a Kisielius three-pointer. For the third time in the game, Mason had opened a double-digit lead. This time, Mason didn’t allow a William and Mary rally. Instead, the Patriots added to the lead, as Thomas and Monroe each scored inside to make it 59-42.

From that point on, every time William and Mary managed to string a pair of baskets together, Mason responded with a big shot from the perimeter, first from Vaughan, then three times from Campbell. By time the Tribe got to within 10, there was less than two minutes to play. Mason committed just four turnovers in the game, none after the half.

Mason returns to action on Saturday when the Patriots host Northeastern University at 4 p.m.

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