Men's Basketball Advances to CAA Semifinal
March 7, 2009
Richmond, Va. - The George Mason men's basketball team advanced to the semifinals of the CAA Tournament on Saturday evening thanks to a 10-3 run to close the game that gave Mason a 61-53 win over James Madison. The second-seeded Patriots held the seventh-seeded Dukes to less than 28 percent shooting while also getting to the line 33 times.
Mike Morrison gave the Patriots (21-9) a huge lift off the bench with career-highs in blocks (four) and rebounds (eight) while Cam Long and Darryl Monroe each had 12 points and John Vaughan had 10 points and seven rebounds. Louis Birdsong added seven points, nine rebounds and three blocks. Pierre Curtis had 16 for James Madison (19-14) while Devon Moore had 13 but no other Duke was in double figures.
The first half was quite the see-saw affair with the Dukes using an early 13-3 run to go ahead 14-7. The Patriots responded with some tremendous defense, holding James Madison scoreless for more than seven and a half minutes and without a field goal for nearly eight and a half minutes. During that stretch, Mason used an 11-0 run to go ahead 18-14. Not surprisingly, the Dukes rallied with a 7-0 run to go up 21-18. With two seconds to go in the first half, Devon Moore score at the basket to give James Madison a 25-24 halftime lead.
In the first half, Mason had held JMU to 28 percent shooting, but the Dukes were 8 of 9 from the free throw line and they had three 3-pointers while Mason was 0 of 8 from beyond the arc. In fact, of Mason's 20 points from the field, 18 came in the paint.
The Patriots opened the second half with an 11-4 run, continuing to go inside, but finally getting a 3-pointer as well as Long drained one in the first few minutes of the frame. Mason's 35-29 lead was its largest lead of the game at that point. James Madison came right back and went on a 13-6 run to take a 42-41 lead with 10:46 to play but Mason answered with an 8-2 run to go ahead by five with 7:30 to play. The Dukes closed the lead and from then on, there was little breathing room until Cam Long hit a pull-up jumper followed by a 3-pointer with 1:47 to go to make it 56-50. From there Mason went 5 of 8 from the line to seal the win, its third straight over the Dukes in the CAA Tournament.
The Patriots will play either third-seeded Northeastern or 11th-seeded Towson on Sunday evening at 5:30 p.m. in the CAA semifinal. Mason split home-and-home with Northeastern this year while sweeping Towson.