Patriots Fall in Home Opener Despite Sellout Crowd
Nov. 18, 2006
The George Mason men's basketball team ended Wichita State's season in 2005-06 and on Saturday afternoon at the Patriot Center, the Shockers exacted a measure of revenge for that loss in the NCAA Tournament as Wichita State beat Mason in its home opener, spoiling a day on which the Patriots saw their 2006 Final Four banner raised to the rafters.
Wichita State outrebounded Mason by just one but cleaned up on the offensive glass, making up for a subpar shooting night. The Shockers also drained close to half their 3-pointers in a 72-66 win. Wichita State was able to block out the school-record 9,804 fans that packed into the soldout Patriot Center as four players scored in double figures for the Shockers.
Wichita State used a 16-5 run to open the second half, erasing a six-point halftime deficit. Ryan Martin hit a pair of layups and Kyle Wilson scored in the paint to make it 33-33. Mason retook the lead, 38-35, before Sean Ogirri made back-to-back 3-pointers to put the Shockers ahead.
Kyle Wilson added another jumper and Wichita State led 43-38. Mason was able to retake the lead, 44-43 as Folarin Campbell hit a pair of shots, and later, John Vaughan tied the score at 47-47 on a long 3-pointer. But a Wilson 3-pointer gave Wichita State the lead with 10:20 to play and the Shockers never relented.
Mason didn't give up, though, even down 68-58 with 51 seconds to go. Campbell hit his lone 3-pointer of the night and Vaughan drained one from behind the arc. After a Wichita State miss at the free throw line, Vaughan took one to the rim to make it 70-66 with 16 seconds to play. But Wilson made a pair of free throws and Campbell missed a 3-pointer that would have made it a one-possession game.
Ogirri finished the game with 19 points on 5 of 9 shooting from 3-point range. Martin had 17 points and 11 rebounds while Wilson finished with 16 points. P.J. Couisnard added 10 points and five assists. The Shockers shot just 44 percent from the field but made 10 of 23 from 3-point range and 10 of 15 from the free throw line. Mason, by contrast, shot 54 percent from the field but just 6 of 21 from behind the arc, less than 30 percent. Mason was also just 6 of 12 from the free throw line.
Vaughan finished with a game-high 21 points to tie his career high. He was 8 of 12 from the field. Will Thomas had a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds, making 6 of 8 shots. Campbell was 7 of 12 from the field but all of his misses came from long range where he was just 1 of 6.
The Patriots struggled in the frontcourt as Darryl Monroe was just 0 of 2 with one rebound. He shot 6 of 7 in Mason's season-opener at Cleveland State last week. Jesus Urbina had four points and four rebounds while Sammy Hernandez had two points and two rebounds.
Mason started slow in the first half as well, finding itself in an 11-5 hole. But the Patriots went on an 8-0 run highlighted by Urbina's first basket since the 2004-05 season (he earned a medical redshirt last year) and Jordan Carter's 3-pointer, which put Mason ahead 13-11. Mason later closed out the first half with a 9-3 run keyed by a pair of Will Thomas baskets and an alley-oop pass from Carter to Campbell.
Mason also had the day's most exciting play when Campbell found Norwood on a back-screen for an uncontested dunk with just under eight minutes to go in the half. The Patriots were unable to come up with any flashy plays in the second half as Mason saw its shooting percentage drop from 59 percent to 50 percent.
The loss ended a 12-game home winning streak for the Patriots dating back to a season-opening loss last year at the hands of Creighton, another Missouri Valley Conference school. Outside of the Valley, the Patriots currently have an 18-game home winning streak stretching back to a 66-59 loss to Drexel on Jan. 19, 2005.
The Patriots have two days off before they return to action as Mason will play at Hampton on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The Patriots will then travel to Creighton for a game next Saturday as Mason makes a return trip for that home-and-home series.