George Mason, already off to its best overall start in 25 seasons, will try to match its best Colonial Athletic Association start in 10 years on Saturday when it hosts Old Dominion. Tipoff is 2 p.m. The game is being shown on Comcast SportsNet. The Patriots (11-3, 4-0 CAA), who last started a conference season 5-0 during the 1998-99 season, haven’t opened a season with this many wins since a 12-2 start in the 1983-84 season.
As usual, George Mason is succeeding with defense. The Patriots have the league’s best scoring defense, holding opponents to 60.4 points per game. They have held their first four CAA opponents to 60 points or less. Only two opponents – Vermont, in an overtime game, and East Carolina – have reached 70 points against Mason this season.
George Mason, which has used the same starting lineup for all 14 games, is balanced offensively. The top three scorers – Cam Long, John Vaughan and Darryl Monroe – are separated by only a point. Long leads the team at 11.8 points per game, while Monroe is third at 10.4 points per game. Four more players are averaging at least 7.1 points per game.
Old Dominion (9-5, 2-2), which is coming off a 70-62 loss to James Madison, has lost two of its past three games. The Monarchs do a nice job finding the open shooter. More than two-thirds of their baskets come off an assist. ODU leads the league in assists per game (16.6) and has the best assist-to-turnover ratio in the CAA.
Monroe, Mason’s 6-foot-7, 275-pound senior forward, will have his hands full trying to contain Gerald Lee, the Monarchs’ 6-10, 250-pound junior forward. Lee averages 15.1 points per game and is making 62.4 percent of his shots.
January 9, 2009; 5:59 AM ET
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