- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 3, 2002

George Mason certainly needed this confidence boost.
Coming off two straight blowout losses, including one in which George Mason allowed 100 points for the first time in coach Jim Larranaga's five seasons, the Patriots responded like the defending Colonial Athletic Association champions they are.
Junior center Jesse Young scored a team-high 17 points as all five George Mason starters scored in double figures. Add a superlative first-half defensive effort and the ingredients were in place for a convincing 80-68 victory over James Madison before a season-high 6,499 at the Patriot Center.
The Patriots (12-7, 6-4 CAA) remained in the CAA regular-season race with eight games to play. The top six teams receive first-round byes in the conference tournament March 1-4 in Richmond.
A week ago, the Patriots were trounced 100-69 by conference newcomer Drexel. George Mason had a week to reflect on that disaster and was determined not to let it hapen again.
"We're the defending champions, we're the preseason pick to finish second in the conference, but we still feel that we are the best team," said senior swingman Rob Anderson, who finished with 14 points on five of six shooting from the floor. "We did feel like we had something to prove but not to everyone else, just ourselves."
The Patriots proved they can still play defense. The fiasco against Drexel should be considered an aberration, because the Patriots allow just 66.8 points per game.
This time George Mason surrendered just 22 first-half points and held James Madison to 25.9 shooting (seven of 27). Dukes guard David Fanning, who entered the game as the CAA's leading scorer (18.8), was held to three points on one of nine shooting in the first half, and Mason enjoyed a 19-point halftime lead.
However, Fanning, a lightning-quick, junior shooter from Chesapeake, Va., scored 16 points in the first five minutes of the second half. Fanning scored 19 of the Dukes' (10-9, 3-7) first 25 second-half points.
Fanning nailed a 19-foot 3-pointer from the top of the key to cut George Mason's lead to 54-48 with 12:20 left, but that was as close as the Dukes got. Fanning finished with 22 points on 8-for-21 shooting. In the second half, he hit his first seven shots before missing five jumpers in a row.
"Was he something? At the timeouts, I said we've got to keep a fresh guy on him," Larranaga said. "We had a new guy on him every three or four minutes because he is such a high-octane player. We know he is capable of doing that."
With his family visiting from Holland, George Mason point guard Raoul Heinen missed becoming the first player in school history to record a triple-double with 11 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.
Behind Heinen's solid play, the Patriots shot 50 percent from the floor (15 of 30) in the first half. At the break, Heinen had seven points, five rebounds and five assists. Freshman guard Lamar Butler scored 16 points, including three of six from behind the 3-point arc. Jon Larranaga, Jim's son, finished with 10 points. Young scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half.
"Whatever he [Jim Larranaga] did during that week of preparation I saw a different ballclub than what I've seen in their recent games on tape," said James Madison coach Sherman Dillard. "I saw a team that seemed to be playing with a great sense of purpose."

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