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Live Chat with Isaiah Tate on Tuesday

With a December 11 win over Liberty, the George Mason men’s basketball team entered its break for finals with an 8-2 record and a six-game winning streak. All six of those wins came by double-digits, tying the school record. On Wednesday, the Patriots will take on Duquesne at 8 p.m. To whet your appetite for that contest, GoMason Blog will present a Live Chat with Isaiah Tate on Tuesday at 11 a.m.

Just Click Here to join the live chat.

Update on New Website

Last month the GoMason Blog mentioned that some time before the new year, GoMason.com would have a new look and a new partner. The switch to the new site is still on schedule as beta testing is currently underway.

One of GoMason Blog’s favorite new features is a pop-up head shot of student-athletes when you mouse-over their name on the roster page. And did we mention the enormous photos on the front page as well as every sport’s home page? And the easy-to-use tabs that allow you to quickly flip between headlines and schedule and results? And of course, there’s the beautiful new video portal. Below is a screen shot of it. Enjoy.

Konkol Advances to Sweet Sixteen

Earlier this month, GoMason Blog told you about the Shots from the Heart tournament being run by CollegeInsider.com. With a tournament-style bracket for head coaches and assistant coaches, the objective of the program is to help to create more awareness for the growing problem of Heart Disease and to raise money to benefit the American Heart Association during the 2010-11 season.

Coach L lost on a tiebreaker in the opening round to Vermont’s Mike Lonergan but Mason assistant coaches Eric Konkol and Michael Huger are still very much alive. After winning his opening round match against DeMario Slocum, Konkol has kept the hot shooting alive as he has yet to miss a shot in two rounds. Against St. Mary’s Rick Croy in the second round, Konkol made all 25 shots while Croy missed four shots. The final tally was a 31-25 victory (shots 21-24 are worth two points and shot 25 is worth three points).

Now in the Sweet Sixteen, Konkol will take on the winner of the Craig Neal (New Mexico) – Kellen Sampson (Stephen F. Austin) matchup. Later this month, Huger will try to put two Mason coaches in the Round of 16 as he will take on Santa Clara’s James Ware.

Speaking of CollegeInsider.com, the most recent Mid-Major Top 25 poll came out on Monday afternoon and the Patriots have moved up one spot to sixth. Mason is one of three CAA schools in the top 10 along with No. 2 Old Dominion and No. 9 VCU. Cleveland State is currently first with St. Mary’s in third, Gonzaga in fourth and Wichita State in fifth. Missouri State (7th), Butler (8th) and North Texas (10th), round out the top 10. Drexel is the other CAA school in the poll at 15th while James Madison is receiving votes commensurate with 27th.

The Perfect Road Trip, GoMason Blog Style

Tomorrow the George Mason men’s basketball team plays its first road game of the season. In honor of the event, GoMason Blog put together its perfect road schedule for this year’s team.

The first road game of the year would take the Patriots to Stetson University. While there, the bus could swing by Lady Lake, Fla. and make a trip down Larranaga Drive, the only street in America that shares a name with the Mason head coach. Game Two would be a quick trip up to Yale with the Patriots staying in North Branford, Conn. where the team can walk down Caputo Road.

Game Three is another trip south, this time to play Savannah State and visit nearby Rincon, Ga., home of Huger Street. Konkol Road in Hatley, Wis. would be a convenient place to visit while playing Wisconsin-Green Bay. Game Five would be one of the shortest road trips of the year as the Patriots play at Virginia Tech. While in Blacksburg, they could take a trip down Lombardi Drive.

Allen Road in Southgate, Mich. is a chance for the Patriots to play at University of Detroit. On the way back the team can stop in Berea, Ky. and visit Arledge Court while facing Eastern Kentucky University. Mason’s closest home game would come next on the schedule as the Patriots face UMBC after a brief stop on Armistead Way in Baltimore. A trip just short of the Rockies will take the Patriots to Bennett Avenue in Bennett, Colo. and a contest with University of Denver. The trip home would have a brief stop in Indianapolis, Ind. where Mason could check out Cornelius Avenue before facing Butler.

Boston College is next on the schedule as the Patriots take a detour to see Hancock Street in Quincy, Mass. A visit to the Gateway Arch is next as Mason faces St. Louis University (nearby Saint Ann, Mo. has scenic Long Drive). Big East foe Pitt is next on the schedule as the Patriots head down Morrison Drive during a stay in Pittsburgh. The Patriots then head to the Carolinas for the first time as they visit Pearson Drive in Asheville, N.C. and take on the UNC Asheville Bulldogs.

Have you ever been to Tate Drive in Del City, Okla.? The Patriots head there next to face University of Oklahoma. While out west Mason swings down to San Antonio to take on UT-San Antonio while swinging by Vaughns View.

Just like there’s only one Larranaga street in America, there’s only one Whack Road. It’s in Greeleyville, S.C. and it gives Mason a chance to play a BCS opponent in University of South Carolina. The season is almost over as Mason takes a bus trip up to Williams Avenue in Jersey City, N.J. and a meeting with Rutgers. The longest road trip of the season is at the end as the Patriots fly to face Nevada-Reno with a brief stop on Wright Street in Reno.

OK, so this road trip could never happen, we know that. But give us some credit for putting together 19 games in 19 states. Total roundtrip mileage on the trip? Roughly 29,000 miles, or more than once around the Earth’s equator.

You know what? A trip to Lynchburg and back to face Liberty at 7 p.m. tomorrow on MASN sounds pretty good right about now.

Men’s Basketball Making History in More Ways Than One

The George Mason men’s basketball team polished off its first 5-0 homestand in nearly 30 years on Wednesday night and they did it with their fifth-straight double-digit win. The Patriots handled Loyola, 66-52 to improve to 7-2 on the season. Lots of good stat nuggets coming OUT of the win and going INTO the Liberty game on Saturday night.

First off, Mason has now won five straight games by double figures. It’s just the fifth time in school history Mason has done that and the first since 2006-07. The school record for consecutive double-digit wins is six-straight, set near the end of the 1998-99 season. Mason held all five opponents to fewer than 60 points and on the season, in Mason’s seven wins, the Patriots are holding the opposition to just 52.1 points per game. Of course in the Patriots’ two losses, they are allowing an average of 80 points. None of Mason’s five victims shot better than 40 percent with Loyola reaching that mark but not surpassing it.

As everyone knows Cam Long topped the 1,000 career point mark last night becoming the 30th player in school history to reach that plateau. He actually sits in 28th now having passed Keith Michael and Brian Miller. Also moving up the career list was Mike Morrison who picked up his 85th career block moving him into a tie for 10th place with Will Thomas. The junior should become the sixth player in school history with 100 blocks sometime in January and before the year is out will almost certainly be top three in school history in that category.

Now the Patriots head to Liberty and their first road game of the season. The only time Mason has ever played its first road game later than December 11 was in 1996 when the Patriots played their first road contest on December 14, losing at Ohio State.

“We just have to keep working hard in practice and get everyone on the same page,” junior Ryan Pearson told the media after the game on Wednesday. “We would like to play the same way we do at home on the road. We’re not going to have our crowd with us it’s just going to be us out there and we’re going to have to come together as a team and get the job done.”

The Patriots head to Liberty looking for their sixth-straight win. Mason has only won six or more in a row five times under Coach L, most recently winning seven straight January of this calendar year. The Patriots are also looking for an 8-2 start, which would be just the fifth time in school history that the Patriots won at least eight of their first 10 games. The previous times were 1974-75 (8-2), 83-84 (9-1), 03-04 (8-2) and 08-09 (8-2). In 1983-84, Mason began the year 12-1. The other three years Mason won at least eight of its first 10, it was unable to go 9-2.

In case you’re looking down the road, after Liberty is an 11-day break for finals followed by a trip to Duquesne. Then the Patriots take a week off before playing at Dayton. Duquesne is currently 3-3 with wins over Bowling Green, UMBC and Wisconsin-Green Bay and losses to Robert Morris, Pittsburgh and Penn State. Dayton is 7-2 having beaten Mount St. Mary’s, Akron, Mississippi, Savannah State, Florida A&M, Miami (Ohio) and Central Connecticut State while suffering losses to Cincinnati and East Tennessee State. And since it’s never too early to look at the RPI, unofficially Duquesne is 171 while Dayton is 111. Mason is 118.

OK, on to the links to what the media had to say about Mason’s win last night:

Washington Post: Quarter powers George Mason past Loyola for fifth win on homestand

Potomac News: Long scores 1,000th career point as George Mason defeats Loyola (Md.)

Washington Examiner: Hancock keys GMU past Loyola, 66-52

Connect2Mason: Patriot Center witnesses history in 66-52 victory over Loyola (Md.)

Baltimore Sun/Associated Press: Loyola drops 66-52 games at George Mason

 

 

 

Don’t Relax on Mason’s Porch

As an assistant coach with the George Mason women’s volleyball team, Dottie Porch has certainly tasted success in her four years with the Patriots. She’s been part of a staff that has seen the Patriots win a CAA title, Holly Goode named CAA Player of the Year, Goode and Kelsey Bohman earn AVCA All-Region honors and most recently, Lana Zonjic being named CAA Co-Rookie of the Year. But back in the late 1990s, it was Porch who was earning all the honors and all the recognition during a storied two-sport career at IPFW.

This past weekend, Porch was honored for all she did as a student-athlete when she was inducted in the IPFW Athletics Hall of Fame. Porch, who graduated from IPFW in 1998, was twice named IPFW Female Athlete of the Year. She was named first-team All-GLVC in volleyball and was the conference’ s player of the year as a 1997, the same season she was an AVCA D-II All-American. She also played basketball for three seasons, the sport she was originally recruited in.

“I was extremely shocked and excited, humbled,” Porch said. “I think it’s a great, great honor and I was happy that they chose me. I never thought about the Hall of Fame. I played sports because I loved it. I just happened to be OK at it.”

She was more than OK as Porch led her volleyball squad to two conference titles while also being a major contributor on the basketball team. “At the time, IPFW was a Division II school with not a lot of buildings on campus and not a lot of sports,” Porch said. “We were always together with other athletes and had the kind of camaraderie and friendships and support system around that always made it fun.”

For Porch, her path to success was simple and clear. “As a student-athlete I was dedicated and driven and I worked hard for everything I accomplished. My Mom had four kids and was alone so she had to work hard to bust her butt so I had to work hard to bust my butt.”

That work ethic is, in Porch’s mind, the most important thing she tries to impart to her players.

“Working hard can take you further than the court,” Porch said. “Most of my lessons that I learned on the court I can relate to my life. I have to have good time management and make sure I am organized and approach people differently. I can’t have a blanket way of communicating. Respecting the fact that competition is there and is real. You have to respect your opponents. And that every day, when I step on the court, I have to work hard.”

Weekend Roundup

The George Mason wrestling team was off this past weekend but the other three winter sports were all in action as men’s basketball, women’s basketball and the swimming and diving teams all competed over the weekend.

Let’s start with the men’s basketball team. The Patriots took their fourth-straight win, beating UNCW 80-52. None of those opponents have scored more than 55 points against the Patriots. In Mason’s six wins, it’s holding the opposition to an average of 52 points while in its losses, it’s given up 80 points. For the Patriots, the victory over the Seahawks marked the sixth straight over the conference foe, the longest winning streak ever for Mason against UNCW. Andre Cornelius, Mike Morrison and Ryan Pearson have never lost to the Seahawks. We’ll see if that holds up with at least three more meetings between the teams before that trio departs Fairfax. Now the big story heading into the game with Loyola on Wednesday night (7 p.m. on MASN) is that senior Cam Long needs just two points to reach 1,000 for his career.

Here are some of the stories from the media after that contest:

Washington Post: George Mason basketball blitzes UNC Wilmington in CAA opener

Potomac News: George Mason routs UNC Wilmington as Long closes in on history

Washington Examiner: Against UNCW, everything goes right for Mason, 80-52

Associated Press: George Mason 80, UNCW 52

Connect2Mason: Men’s Basketball routs UNCW, 80-52

Wilmington StarNews: Patriots outgun UNCW basketball team in 80-52 blowout

The women’s basketball team wasn’t as fortunate in their local meetings as the men’s team. The Patriots lost to George Washington on Sunday as the Colonials closed the game with a 23-12 run to beat Mason, 67-58. This came a few days after Mason led American 39-34 before losing, 46-43. The losses are disappointing, but it’s clear that if the Patriots can play tougher down the stretch during the upcoming five-game homestand, a .500 record heading into conference play is within reach. Three Patriots are averaging double figures with Brittany Poindexter at 10.6 ppg and Amber Easter and Taleia Moton both at 10.0 ppg.

Finally, the swim teams competed at the US Short Course Swimming National Championships and Ashley Danner had the top performance of any Mason athlete as she was 7th in the 200-yard breaststroke. Danner also competed in the 100-yard breaststroke finishing 11th. Danner also was 36th in the 200-yard individual medley. The other Mason swimmers with top 50 finishes were Preston Wolter, who was 37th in the 1650-yard freestyle and 41ast in the 400-yard individual medley; and Paige Impink, who was 42nd in the 100-yard backstroke.

The swim team is off until January but the wrestling team will be back in action this week with a tri-meet against Rutgers and Princeton on Saturday. Each basketball team will take the court twice more though before Finals begin. The women’s team hosting Stony Brook on Thursday at 7 p.m. and Ohio on Sunday at 2 p.m. while the men’s team will host Loyola on Wednesday at 7 p.m. and play at Liberty on Saturday at 7 p.m.