Patriots Face Florida In Final Four Showdown
March 29, 2006
With their first trip to the Final Four in school history, Mason is enjoying what is undoubtedly its finest season. The Patriots have won an NCAA Tournament game for the first time, set a school record with 27 wins, and defeated a pair of top-10 teams (Connecticut and North Carolina) for the first time in school history.
In the Patriots' four NCAA Tournament games, they are shooting 48.3 percent while holding the opposition to 39.4 percent shooting. The Patriots are outrebounding their opponents and have gone to the free throw line more than twice as often. Mason has attempted 93 free throws while their four opponents have taken 45.
Nearly half of Will Thomas' eight career double-doubles have come in the NCAA Tournament. The sophomore forward has had three double-doubles in the past four games and is averaging a double-double in the tournamennt, with 13.8 points and 10.5 rebounds. Folarin Campbell is shooting .629 from the field and is averaging 16.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists.
Mason is now 4-3 all-time in the NCAA Tournament. The Patriots have won 20 of 23 and the only teams to defeat the Patriots since Dec. 30 are Hofstra and UNC Wilmington. Mason is 7-1 this year against NCAA Tournament teams.
Mason is the first 11 seed to make the Final Four since LSU in 1986 and the first non-BCS team to make it since Penn and Indiana State in 1979.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM HISTORIC WINS:
Against North Carolina, the Patriots outscored the Tar Heels 63-44 over the final 35:34 of the game. Against Wichita State, Mason took a 9-0 lead and led by double digits for nearly the entire game.
In overtime against Connecticut, the Patriots made 5 of 6 shots from the field and outrebounded the Huskies.
This season, Mason has set new school records for wins in a season (27), assists in a season (497), field-goal percentage defense (.384) and scoring defense (58.9).