ODU Upset In CAA Semifinals By George Mason
March 4, 2007
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Dre Smith scored 19 points and surging George Mason took a 22-point lead early in the second half and made it stand up Sunday to upset Old Dominion 79-63 and advance to the Colonial Athletic Association championship game.
The Patriots (18-14), lacking the resume they had in earning the at-large NCAA tournament berth last season that made their amazing run to the Final Four possible, beat third-seeded Hofstra in the quarterfinals before taking out the No. 2 Monarchs.
The Patriots will play regular-season champion Virginia Commonwealth in the championship on Monday night, with the winner earning an NCAA tournament berth.
Old Dominion (24-8), which had swept the season series from the Patriots, missed 30 of its first 40 shots and joins Drexel in hoping the league's enhanced reputation earns it at-large consideration. Drexel lost to the Rams in the other semifinal, 63-56.
Folarin Campbell added 18 points for the Patriots, including seven in a row late in the game after the Monarchs made 9 of 12 shots to threaten to make a game of it.
George Mason led 35-20 at halftime and opened the second half with an 8-1 run as Old Dominion missed its first five shots, leaving it 8-for-34 from the field overall.
Not until the Monarchs stopped shooting 3-pointers - they had missed 12 of 13 - and started driving to the basket did they begin to mount a rally. Making 9 of 12 at one point, they closed to within 61-49 with 4:38 to play, but could get no closer.
George Mason shot 58 percent while Old Dominion finished at 35 percent.
The Patriots came out red hot, making 9 of their first 11 shots and taking a 21-8 lead. They hardly cooled off, either, finishing the half 15-for-26 and leading 35-20.
Smith led the Patriots' early barrage, scoring 14 points before halftime.