Hofstra 58

(24-5, 14-4 CAA)

George Mason 49

(23-7, 15-3 CAA)

    6:00 PM ET, March 5, 2006

    Richmond Coliseum, Richmond, Virginia

    1 2 T
    HOF 27 3158
    GMU 33 1649

    Top Performers

    Hofstra: C. Rivera 25 Pts, 10 Reb, 4 Ast

    George Mason: W. Thomas 17 Pts, 6 Reb, 1 Blk

    Hofstra's D clamps down on George Mason in upset win

    RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Hofstra coach Tom Pecora made no attempt to hide his satisfaction after the Pride shut down one of the nation's top defensive teams.

    Hofstra held George Mason to just four field goals and 16 points in the second half of a 58-49 victory over the Patriots in the semifinals of the Colonial Athletic Association tournament.

    "That's something to be proud of," a beaming Pecora said. "There's not a coach in the world who wouldn't be happy with that."

    Carlos Rivera scored 17 of his 25 points in the second half to rally Hofstra (24-6) to its sixth consecutive victory and its first trip to the CAA championship game in its five years in the league.

    "We had no answer for Rivera," said George Mason coach Jim Larranaga, whose second-seeded Patriots (23-7) came into the tournament holding opponents to 38.3-percent shooting, sixth best in Division I. But Hofstra pressed George Mason into 32.7-percent shooting, including 4-for-23 in the second half.

    "They completely shut us down with their defense," Larranaga said, "both on the interior and on the perimeter. Hofstra's a great team."

    Pecora said he didn't deliver any particular pep talk that produced the defensive intensity.

    "I think we just played harder," he said. "We played inspired."

    The third-seeded Pride advanced to Monday night's title game against top-seeded North Carolina-Wilmington, a 69-54 winner over Northeastern earlier Sunday.

    Rivera added 10 rebounds, and Hofstra also got 20 points from Loren Stokes, who wasn't around for the final 55 seconds. Television replays showed Stokes was punched in the groin by George Mason's Tony Skinn. Stokes lay on the floor for several minutes before walking gingerly to the bench, where he watched the rest of the game with an ice bag on his lap.

    Pecora said neither he nor the officials saw the play.

    "You can't let a little incident like that mar a college basketball game," he said.

    Will Thomas led George Mason with 17 points. Skinn added 10 for the Patriots, who must wait to see if they get an at-large berth to the NCAA tournament.

    George Mason built a 10-point lead before making just one field goal over a span of more than eight minutes that bridged the two halves. That allowed Hofstra to cut its deficit to 36-35 on Stokes' short jumper in the lane with 13:16 remaining.

    Hofstra took its first lead when Rivera converted a three-point play to make it 42-40 with 8:38 left.

    After the Pride stretched it to 51-44 on Stokes' 18-footer at the 2:25 mark, George Mason cut it to 53-49 on a 3-pointer by Skinn with one minute remaining. But Hofstra sealed the victory by making five of eight free throws the rest of the way.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 58 49
    FG Made-Attempted 19-42 (.452) 16-49 (.327)
    3P Made-Attempted 3-12 (.250) 5-19 (.263)
    FT Made-Attempted 17-25 (.680) 12-14 (.857)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 13 (0/0) 21 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 9 10

    2005-06 Season

    Feb 23, 2006 @HOF 77, GMU 66Recap
    » Mar 5, 2006 HOF 58, @GMU 49Recap