- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 3, 2002

RICHMOND With nearly four minutes left in a close game, Hofstra junior guard Rick Apodaca buckled over at the scorer's table and vomited during a timeout.
At the finish, though, George Mason's players were the ones feeling sick.
The second-seeded Patriots were upset by the 10th-seeded Pride 82-76 in quarterfinals of the Colonial Athletic Association tournament last night at Richmond Coliseum.
This shocking loss may even have bigger ramifications for the Patriots (19-9), who are on the NIT bubble. George Mason now can only cross its fingers and hope it gains the expanded 40-team field next week.
"We hope that the NIT selection committee will look at us and say, 'Hey, you've got a lot of guys coming back, you're a young team, they've played great in February, they've had one bad day in March, let's give them a chance to be invited and show what they can do in postseason play,'" coach Jim Larranaga said.
The Patriots were simply outplayed in this one. The Pride (12-19) crushed George Mason 42-33 on the glass with 14 offensive rebounds and shot 47.5 percent from the floor.
Apodaca, who entered the game as the Pride's leading scorer at 17.8, scored 20 of his game-high 26 points in the second half. With Hofstra trailing 51-50 with 12 minutes left, Apodaca nailed a fadeaway 3-pointer from the top of the key for a 53-51 lead. The Pride never trailed afterward.
The Patriots took a 38-35 lead into the locker room behind senior guard Rob Anderson's five of seven shooting from beyond the 3-point arc. Anderson led the Patriots in the half with 15 points but finished the game with only 17 after making only one of six shots in the second half.
"The only thing I'm thinking about now was that was the end of my college career," Anderson said. "We controlled our own fate. I don't know what's going to happen with the NIT. Right now, it seems like my career at George Mason is over, and words can't explain how disappointed I am."
Statistically, George Mason entered this game with the second-best defense in the conference, allowing just 65.9 points per game. Last night's debacle was the third time this season all losses that the Patriots had surrendered more than 80 points.
Hofstra's Kenny Adeleke, the CAA's rookie of the year, was a big reason why. If the Patriots had stopped the Pride's dribble penetration, the 6-foot-8 Adeleke would not have scored so many easy layups. He finished with 23 points and eight rebounds.
It was the wrong game for George Mason's usually stout defense to go on vacation. Hofstra's 5-11 freshman point guard Woody Souffrant broke down the Patriots' defense in the halfcourt. The lightning-quick Souffrant was able to penetrate the lane on George Mason's guards. When a Patriots defender collapsed on Souffrant, the Brooklyn product dumped to Adeleke.
Adeleke led the Pride with 15 points on seven of 11 shooting in the first half. Adeleke, who turned down a scholarship to DePaul to attend Hofstra, was the Pride's best offense in the half. The rest of his teammates shot a combined six of 19 from the floor.
Junior center Jesse Young led the Patriots with 18 points and seven rebounds. Point guard Raoul Heinen added 10 points, seven assists and four rebounds. Freshman guard Lamar Butler scored 14 points on three of six shooting from behind the 3-point arc.


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide