Jon Larranaga badly air balled a deep three-pointer as the halftime buzzer sounded in George Mason's game with Drexel yesterday, then turned to his father Jim, the Patriots' coach, and shrugged. A 30-point lead allows a more carefree walk to the locker room, air ball or not.
George Mason put together a dominant first half en route to a 75-53 Colonial Athletic Association victory over Drexel yesterday before 2,110 at Patriot Center, with career highs from Mark Davis (26 points) and Raoul Heinen (19).
And while the elder Larranaga was displeased with a second-half lapse that limited the Patriots to two points in the first eight minutes, George Mason recovered enough to keep the Dragons from even remotely threatening the outcome.
"You can't expect to play better than that," Jim Larranaga said. "What you can worry about is how big the letdown will be. They tattooed us with 100 points last year [a 100-69 loss in Philadelphia], so I was very aware of how they could score 50 points in a half just like we did."
Davis (Lee High) made his first seven shots and scored 20 points in the first half, nearly outscoring the Dragons by himself. Heinen broke out of a recent slump by sinking 3 of 5 three-pointers and scoring 15 points before the break. The Patriots took a 52-22 lead into halftime, by far the Patriots' best half of the season.
Combining a suffocating defense and 61 percent shooting, the Patriots (7-4, 2-0 CAA) had no problem on either end of the court for the first 20 minutes. Drexel (6-5, 1-1) went without a field goal for 11 minutes 20 seconds in the first half, during which the Dragons were outscored 30-3.
"Those guys come at you, they're very aggressive," Drexel Coach Bruiser Flint said. "You have to go to the basket at that point, force the referees to make some calls. We didn't. Every time we took a dribble it was toward half court."
Drexel's guards found it nearly impossible to work against the Patriots' man-to-man pressure, with the occasional 2-3 zone mixed in, making just eight assists against 16 turnovers and 37 percent shooting. Dragons center Robert Battle, averaging 15.7 points and 9.6 rebounds, was held to 10 points and four rebounds. Phil Goss (Oxon Hill) contributed 15 points.
Patriots Notes: Sophomore guard Lamar Butler (Oxon Hill), still out with a hip flexor, is all but certain to redshirt, Larranaga said, as will Deon Cooper, who played 16 minutes over three games but has not recovered fully from an offseason stress fracture in his foot.
* FLORIDA ST. 76, VIRGINIA TECH 69: The Hokies got off to a slow start, falling behind by 16 points at halftime, and were beaten at home by the Seminoles. Florida State (8-3) shot 63 percent in the first half in taking a 47-31 lead.
"We have to learn to play 40 minutes," Tech Coach Ricky Stokes said.
Terry Taylor led the Hokies (6-6) with 17 points and a game-high nine rebounds.
* AIR FORCE 56, NAVY 43: A.J. Kuhl scored 16 points and the host Falcons committed only five turnovers, tying a school record.
The Falcons (8-4) were leading the nation in three-point percentage (46.4), but made only 5 of 19. Reserve Mitch Moore led the Midshipmen (4-9) with 12 points.
* BOWIE ST. 74, VIRGINIA ST. 59: Jon Smith scored 18 points on 8-of-9 shooting and Tim Washington had 17 points and 14 rebounds as the Bulldogs (10-1, 4-0 CIAA) cruised in Ettrick, Va.