- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 6, 2002

George Mason so overwhelmed Towson at the start of last night's game that coach Jim Larranaga cleared his bench with 13:25 left in the first half.
Towson looked like mere exhibition fodder for George Mason as Jon Larranaga scored a game-high 20 points on 6-for-6 shooting, center Jesse Young added 18 and the Patriots destroyed the Tigers 71-42 in a Colonial Athletic Association game before 3,066 at the Patriot Center.
Jon Larranaga nailed two 3-pointers but went 6-for-8 from the free throw line to blemish his otherwise perfect shooting night. Larranaga missed both free throws with 8:20 left in the game and George Mason (8-4, 2-1 CAA) leading 53-33.
"Maybe at camp in Virginia when I was like in the seventh grade, I was on fire the whole week, I might have had a couple of perfect [shooting] games, but besides that I don't know," Jon Larranaga said.
This game started as a George Mason layup drill. The Tigers were so bad with the ball early that the Patriots opened the game on an 18-2 run. Five of Towson's first seven possessions were turnovers, and the Patriots jumped out a 34-19 halftime lead.
The Tigers (4-9, 0-3), who came in averaging 21.8 turnovers a game, were picked to finish last in the preseason CAA poll. They did their part last night to uphold the prognosticators.
"There is not the talent present right now to compete in the CAA," Towson coach Michael Hunt said. "We've got to do a better of recruiting as well as doing a better job as a team right now."
The Tigers, who are in their first season in the CAA since defecting from the America East, have registered three of their four wins against dreadful Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) competition.
For the game, the Tigers made one of 12 3-pointers, shot 31 percent from the field, committed 19 turnovers and were slaughtered on the glass 46-33.
"In order for us to be competitive in this league, we're going to obviously have to get stronger and do a better job of taking care of the ball," Hunt said.
Towson becomes the second Baltimore school to get blown out in Fairfax. On Nov. 28, the Patriots stomped Coppin State 80-44. This was George Mason's second-largest win of the season after the Coppin State massacre.
Jon Larranaga added eight rebounds and three assists to his line. Young finished with eight rebounds and two assists. Patriots point guard Raoul Heinen pulled down a career-high nine rebounds and added a career-high six steals. Freshman guard Lamar Butler scored 14 points.
The Patriots will find out if last night's breather was adequate preparation for Wednesday's showdown at CAA co-leader UNC Wilmington (8-5, 3-0).
Jim Larranaga believes so.
"If we have 71 and they have 42, I think so," Jim Larranaga said when asked if last night's performance was enough to beat UNC Wilmington.
Jim Larranaga will sign copies of his new book, "Coaching Basketball's Defense (Art & Science of Coaching)," on the south concourse of the Patriot Center following Saturday's game against Old Dominion.

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