Larranaga Earns 400th Career Win as Mason Beats Delaware
Feb. 20, 2008
The George Mason men's basketball team wasn't firing on all cylinders on Wednesday night but it didn't need all its horsepower as the Patriots used solid defense and a big-time rebounding advantage to beat the Delaware Blue Hens, 70-58 in Colonial Athletic Association action. The win marked the 400th of George Mason head coach Jim Larranaga's career and it allowed the Patriots to improve to 12-1 at home on the season and remain in a tie for second place in the CAA.
Mason took a 15-point lead early in the second half, and reminiscent of the two team's meeting earlier this year, the Blue Hens used defense to get back into the game. A 9-0 run by Delaware made it a 36-30 game. But unlike that contest, when Delaware rallied from a 19-point deficit to earn an overtime win, the Patriots responded by taking the fight to the Blue Hens. A 14-2 run put the Patriots ahead by 18 and Mason never let the lead get to fewer than 12.
Will Thomas had his fifth straight double-double and his CAA-leading 14th on the season as he finished with 24 points and 14 rebounds. He moved into fourth place on the school's career rebounding list, passing Andre Gaddy and Robert Dykes. Folarin Campbell had 19 points, Dre Smith had 10 points, four rebounds and three assists and Louis Birdsong had 10 points and eight rebounds. Delaware was led by Herb Courtney's 12 points and eight rebounds while Marc Egerson had 15 points and five rebounds. Mason outrebounded Delaware 40-31 while holding the Blue Hens to 35.3 percent shooting.
The Patriots used a 9-0 run early in the first half to erase a 4-0 deficit and take the lead. But the story in those opening minutes was the poor shooting by both teams. Delaware opened the game 4 of 17 while Mason was 5 of 15. The Patriots snapped out of their slump first, though. The Patriots made three straight shots and a pair of free throws to take a double-digit lead, 21-11. After the Blue Hens cut the lead to six, the Patriots responded behind Campbell, who scored six of Mason's seven points as the Patriots went up 28-15. A 3-pointer in the final seconds of the first half allowed Delaware to close to 32-21 at the break.
At the half, Mason held Delaware to 29.6 percent shooting while harassing the Blue Hens into 10 turnovers. The Patriots had a 22-14 edge on the boards but 1 of 6 shooting from 3-point range kept them from pulling away.
Mason will next take the court on Saturday when the Patriots travel to Ohio to take on the Bobcats as part of the ESPN BracketBusters. That game will be televised on ESPN2 at 1 p.m.