- Spain, Morocco break up jihadist recruitment cell, arrest 7
- Muslim insurgents shoot then set on fire Buddhist teacher in Thailand
- Air Force cadets ‘revolt’ after officials remove biblical verse from whiteboard
- Rep. Lee: Paul Ryan out of touch with urban Americans
- House votes down resolution to force Issa to apologize
- Kremlin blocks opposition websites; Kasparov fears Putin plans ‘something drastic’
- Saving trees? EPA wastes $1.5 million storing unneeded pamphlets in warehouse
- Scott Brown Senate bid in New Hampshire may launch soon
- Jeffrey Corzine, son of ex-N.J. governor, dead at 31
- Australian surfing magazine sorry for calling indigenous surfer ‘apeish’
George Mason’s run ends with loss to Buckeyes
Ohio State wastes no time heating up the court at NCAA’s East regional
CLEVELAND | For George Mason to push its latest NCAA tournament stay into another week, coach Jim Larranaga knew the Patriots needed an off night from Ohio State.
The Buckeyes did anything but cooperate.
Top-seeded Ohio State trounced eighth-seeded George Mason 98-66 in a packed and partisan Quicken Loans Arena, scorching the Patriots throughout an efficient first half to secure the round of 32 game.
Patriots sophomore Luke Hancock, who hit the go-ahead 3-pointer in Friday's defeat of Villanova, sat out with a stomach illness. It left Mason (27-7) bereft of one of its most dangerous offensive players in its toughest test of the season.
Ultimately, his presence wouldn't have changed the outcome much. Not with the way the Buckeyes (34-2) dissected the Patriots.
"It seemed like everything we tried to do defensively, they had an answer for," Larranaga said.
David Lighty scored 25 points for Ohio State, which shot 61 percent from the floor and a tournament record 61.5 percent (16-for-26) from 3-point territory.
The torrid shooting helped the Buckeyes erase an early 11-2 deficit and uncork a 50-15 run of their own entering halftime. Pacing the surge was Lighty, a Cleveland native who made all seven of his 3-pointers to ensure the Buckeyes a date with Kentucky in the East Region semifinals.
"Lighty was just on fire," forward Ryan Pearson said. "He just didn't miss. When they moved him to the four position and went kind of small, they tried to spread us out. We wanted to give as much help to Mike [Morrison] on [Jared] Sullinger as possible, and he just found the open guy. They just kicked it out and made shots all night."
Ohio State placed a greater conundrum on Larranaga than any team Mason faced all season: Just how can a team capable of scoring from any position be stopped?
There's Sullinger, the fulcrum of Ohio State's offense. Then there's perimeter threat Jon Diebler and talented complementary pieces Lighty and William Buford.
It's not an easy puzzle. Mason couldn't muster any solution as the Buckeyes scored 1.57 points per possession in the first half.
"At first it was Sullinger; we began with how we were going to defend in the post," Larranaga said while running down the Patriots' priorities. "The second was Diebler because of his ability to stretch the defense with his 3-point shooting ability. And then it was 'Let's pray Buford and Lighty don't go off.' But you're hoping. You're not planning on that."
The setback abruptly ended the Patriots' attempt to craft a follow-up to their improbable 2006 Final Four run.
This team was determined to stake out its own legacy, and did so with both a 16-game winning streak late in the regular season and the school's first NCAA tournament victory since 2006.
Against Ohio State, however, Mason never had a chance to accomplish any more, and was left with a miserable closing act to recall an otherwise memorable season.
"You can't forget a game like this," senior guard Cam Long (16 points) said. "There's no way. Basically, they beat us. With this being our last game, of course I'm going to think about it. It might not be something that's on my mind on a regular basis, because the good of what happened this year is what overcomes all that. But it's definitely going to be something that sticks in my mind."
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Patrick Stevens has covered Maryland and other Mid-Atlantic college sports for more than a decade. You can reach him at email@example.com.
- George Mason's defense dissipates in 84-74 loss to Northeastern
- Maryland's Pe'Shon Howard willing to let others put ball in the basket
- At 7-5, George Mason looks on the bright side entering CAA play
- Terps beat IUPUI, set for ACC after final tuneup
- Maryland's Jake Layman shows signs of progress in freshman season
Latest Blog Entries
By Bob Dole
The industrious island has proved itself worthy of U.S. inclusion
- F-35 secrets now showing up in Chinas stealth fighter
- EXCLUSIVE: FBI blocked in corruption probe involving Sens. Reid, Lee
- U.S.: Malaysia plane's on-board communications purposely shut down
- USS Kidd sent to Indian Ocean after 'indication' of Malaysian jet crash
- Oil rig worker says he saw missing plane go down: report
- EDITORIAL: Lois Lerner's dilemma
- PRUDEN: Sink sank own campaign in Florida special election
- Justice Department refuses info on hundreds of prosecutor misconduct cases
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- College group's diversity event canceled after excluding white people
Chaos as Manhattan building explodes
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again