George Mason 84, Hampton 74
FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) _ With its leading scorer suspended and its leading free-throw shooter gone for good, George Mason’s fast-paced offense sputtered to an 84-74 victory over Hampton on Thursday night.
Kenwan Alford scored 23 points and Curtis McCants had 21 points and 14 assists as the Patriots (4-4) _ the top-scoring team in the country _ matched their season-low scoring output. Hampton, playing on the road for the 10th time in 11 games, fell to 3-8.
The Patriots played without junior guard Nate Langley and senior forward G.C. Marcaccini. Langley, whose 22.3 point-per-game average leads the team, was serving a one-game suspension for violating a team rule.
Marcaccini, averaging 14.4 points per game, failed to return from last week’s two-game road trip to the West Coast. The Patriots announced Thursday that Marcaccini, 32-for-35 in free throws this season for a team that otherwise struggles from the line, has left the team but will return to school next month to concentrate on completing his degree.
Marcaccini, who lives in Los Angeles, was also tied for the team lead in rebounds with a 9.1 average. He told team officials that he hopes to return to his native Italy to play professionally after graduation.
Without Marcaccini, the Patriots were dreadful at the line, making 7-for-17 in the first half and 12-for-23 for the game.
Hampton, led by JaFonde Williams’ 25 points, were content to play George Mason coach Paul Westhead’s run-and-gun game. The Pirates jumped to a 6-0 lead and were ahead by as many as eight, but poor shooting allowed the Patriots to take a 38-37 halftime lead.
George Mason took the lead for good on Mike Virtue’s basket off an offensive rebound with 12:30 to play.