Patriots Upset Third-Seeded Hofstra, 64-61, in CAA Tournament Quarterfinals

Posted: March 3, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

The George Mason men’s basketball team used a 21-4 run at the end of the first half to take a commanding lead and held off several Hofstra second-half runs as the Patriots defeated the Pride in the quarterfinals of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Tournament, 64-61.

Darryl Monroe had the second double-double of his career with 10 points and 10 rebounds, and Folarin Campbell had 16 points and a game-high six assists. Dre Smith added 12 points as all eight Mason players who took the court scored.

Hofstra’s Carlos Rivera had 21 points to lead all scorers, while Loren Stokes had 18 and Antoine Agudio had 13. But Stokes and Agudio, both first-team All-CAA selection, shot just 9 of 29 from the field.

The Patriots, having finally snapped a four-game losing streak at the hands of Hofstra, will take on second-seeded Old Dominion on Sunday in the CAA semifinals at 5:30 p.m. The Monarchs downed Towson 58-55 earlier on Saturday. Sunday’s game will be broadcast in Fairfax on Cox Channel 28.

The Patriots opened Saturday’s contest with more balance than on Friday, when the perimeter game carried the load early. Instead, Mason got three-pointers from four different players, Dre Smith, Jordan Carter, John Vaughan and Folarin Campbell, and three inside baskets from Darryl Monroe and one from Smith and Will Thomas. That allowed Mason, which was ahead 13-5 early, to take a 22-18 lead after more than 12 minutes. Hofstra was in the game because of 15 points, all on three-pointers, from Carlos Rivera.

A three-pointer by Antoine Agudio, a free throw by Chris Gadley and a fastbreak layup by Greg Johnson gave Hofstra its first lead since 5-3, a 24-22 edge with 6:20 to play in the half. From then until the break, it was all Mason. The Patriots used a 21-4 run to take a 43-28 halftime lead, holding Hofstra without a field goal during that stretch.

The run started on a Smith three-pointer, and Louis Birdsong followed with an offensive putback. Campbell drained a three-pointer to make it 30-24. Loren Stokes sank a pair of free throws, making it 30-26. Then Mason went to work at the foul line.

Thomas hit a pair, and after Stokes made two of three from the charity stripe, Campbell sank four straight for a 36-28 edge. The Patriots then got a basket in traffic from Smith, a free throw from Smith, a jumper from Campbell, and a reverse fastbreak layup with one second to go from Carter.

Having scored the final 11 points of the half, Mason enjoyed its second-highest first-half point total of the year.

Hofstra, which shot just 29.6 percent in the first half, found its shooting touch in the second half, opening with a 12-2 run. Rivera, Agudio and Arminas Urbutis all scored early in the half, and Agudio’s three-pointer with 15:32 to go pulled Hofstra to within eight. A Stokes free throw and Gadley bankshot made it 45-40.

A Gabe Norwood dunk gave Mason a little more breathing room but it disappeared quickly on a Rivera free throw and a Stokes pullup. Ahead just 47-43, Mason went on a 9-0 run.

Campbell hit a 19-footer, Norwood drained a three-pointer, Campbell hit a pair of free throws and Monroe scored inside for a 56-43 Mason lead with 8:23 to go. But Stokes answered with a three-pointer to make it 56-46. Campbell was whistled for an offensive foul, giving Hofstra possession with 7:58 to play.

The Pride could get no closer than eight until the final four minutes. Down 58-50 and with the ball after a Birdsong offensive foul, Rivera drained a three-pointer and Stokes hit a basket inside to make it 58-55.

Thomas made one of two free throws with 1:53 to go. After Stokes missed the front end of a one-and-one, Birdsong scored on another offensive putback with 46 seconds to go, making it 61-55. Agudio raced down court and needed just five seconds to score a layup and make it 61-57.

From there it came down to free throws. Mason made three of five in the final minute to hold on. Hofstra had a chance in the final seconds, but Greg Johnson took the ball inside and missed, giving Mason the win.

The Pride turned the ball over just three times, shot 47.4 percent from three-point range and matched Mason in offensive rebounds with 10. But the Patriots shot significantly better from the field and the free throw line to earn a date with Old Dominion.

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