Monarchs Never Trail As They Put Away Patriots, 72-64

February 09, 2008
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Feb. 9, 2008

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NORFOLK, Va. -- Old Dominion held off a potent George Mason attack and never trailed in the ball game as they put away the Patriots, 72-64. George Mason (17-7/9-4) lost their third road conference game of the season and ODU improved to 12-13 overall and 7-6 in the CAA. Frank Hassell just missed a double-double with nine points and 13 rebounds while Abdi Lidonde poured in 15 points and Gerald Lee added 11.

The Monarchs jumped out to a quick lead against George Mason, a lead they would never relinquish. Heading into the locker room, ODU would lead 11 with the score 42-31. Lidonde was 5-for-5 from the floor with 13 points and two assists in the first half to lead ODU. Lee and Hassell each added eight in the first.

Two Patriots paced the team in the first, with Will Thomas grabbing seven rebounds and putting up 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting. Folarin Campbell added ten points on 3-of-6 shooting in the first.

Old Dominion would add to their lead out of the break, getting it up to 15 with 7:00 remaining before Mason would attempt their comeback. The Patriots would cut it to five with 2:26 remaining, but the dagger would quickly follow. The next trip down the floor for ODU the Monarchs managed to work the shot clock down to one second before Brian Henderson put a shot on the rim. Lee pulled down the offensive rebound giving the Monarchs a fresh shot clock, and after working it down to single digits again, this time Henderson would connect on a three-ball with under a minute and a half remaining.

Mason would get it to as close as five points again, with 1:15 remaining, but the Monarchs hit five-of-six free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.

The Monarchs cooled as a team in the second half, managing just 7-of-27 shooting (.259), but stepped up defensively, stealing six in the second frame. Two of the six steals were by senior Brandon Johnson, who moves past former teammate for sole possession of second all-time in ODU steals with 214.

In the game, ODU shot 41% (25-of-61) from the field and 81.8% (18-of-22) from the charity stripe. For GMU, it was the worst shooting night since the third game of the season, when the Patiots shot just .356 from the field. Tonight, they were hit just 21-of-58 shots for a 36.2 shooting percentage.

The key from a team standpoint was bench production as the Monarchs got 34 points from their reserves compared to just three points from the Patriot bench.

Mason was led by Folarin Campbell with 28 points and Will Thomas with 18 points and 16 rebounds. Thomas' 16 boards ties a Constant Center individual record for opponents by Dwyane Jones (12-22-04) of St. Joseph's and Jeff Allen of Virginia Tech (12-16-07).

It was the fourth time this season The Ted drew more than 8,200 fans.

The Monarchs return to action at home this Thursday, Valentine's Day, for a 7:00 pm tip against Drexel. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU. The Dragons snapped a six-game losing streak against Towson on Saturday and come into the game against the Monarchs with a 10-15/3-10 record.