Men's Basketball Travels to JMU Looking to Keep Pace in CAA
Feb. 6, 2009
The George Mason men's basketball team got a gift on Wednesday night and they will do their best to take advantage of it on Saturday. Earlier this week, the two teams ahead of Mason in the Colonial Athletic Association standings, Northeastern and VCU, suffered surprising road losses. The Patriots find themselves tied for second with the Rams, one game behind Northeastern. Mason will look to keep pace at 2 p.m. on Saturday when the Patriots travel to James Madison to take on the Dukes in a game televised on Comcast SportsNet and broadcast on WTNT 570.
Mason (16-6, 9-3) will play Northeastern once more and by winning the remainder of their six CAA games, the Patriots will do no worse than a tie for first-place. But the next two games and three of the final six are on the road. Mason started the year 5-3 away from home including 3-0 in the CAA, but the Patriots have dropped the past three road games, losing by one at Northeastern, five at VCU and two at Old Dominion.
James Madison (15-9, 7-5) is in fifth place in the CAA, looking to climb up in the standings and a potential first-round bye in the CAA Tournament. The Dukes will have something bigger on their mind on Saturday, though, as they look to snap a school-record 10-game losing streak against the Patriots. Mason, meanwhile, will look to tie the all-time series record of 11-straight wins, which James Madison set during a multi-year stretch from the late 1970s to early 1980s.
The Dukes have won their past two but are just 3-3 in their past six games. That six-game stretch started with a 71-57 loss at Mason on Jan. 17. In that game, Mason held JMU to 31.6 percent shooting. Pierre Curtis had 16 points while Juwann James scored 13 on 5 of 7 shooting. Louis Birdsong had 15 on 7 of 9 shooting while Ryan Pearson had 13 points and six rebounds and Darryl Monroe had seven points, 11 rebounds and four assists.
On the year, Juwann James has led the Dukes with 14.4 points and 5.3 rebounds but he has missed the past two games. Kyle Swanston, Julius Wells and Devon Moore are all scoring more than 10.0 points per game.
Cam Long leads the Patriots with 12.0 points and he is second with 4.8 rebounds. He's among the CAA leaders in field-goal percentage, assists and assist-to-turnover ratio. John Vaughan and Darryl Monroe are each scoring in double figures and Monroe is second in the CAA in rebounding. He would also be second in field-goal percentage if he had enough attempts. One of Mason's most dangerous players of late is Ryan Pearson. Over the past six games, the freshman is averaging 11.3 points and 3.5 rebounds while shooting 60.5 percent from the field.