If you're a college basketball fan of a certain age and didn't grow up rooting for the Dukies, odds are you're not a fan of the Hurley's. Depending on how George Mason's matchup at Rhode Island winds up on Wednesday night, Patriot fans might feel the same.
True, it's former Seton Hall point guard Danny and not his better-known brother in the head coaching chair for the Rams (1-5) - and the one leading the Atlantic 10 program in the right direction, but it's a guilt by association thing. Besides, Bobby Hurley, the floor general (and for some, constant irritant) on Duke's consecutive back-to-back national championship winning teams from the early 90's, will be sitting right next to his younger brother as one of the Rams' assistants for the 8:00 p.m. tip-off.
Then again, green and gold nation should simply be rooting for their side to come up with an aesthetically pleasing outing after Saturday's ugly 48-45 win over Boston University. With only one player scoring in double figures and George Mason (4-2) collectively missing 14 of 16 attempts from beyond the arc, the Patriots needed Bryon Allen's 3-point play with 0.2 seconds to avoid a homecourt disaster against the Terriers. Johnny Williams, George Mason's leading rebounder and second-leading scorer behind Sherrod Wright on the season, paced the Patriots with 10 points.
Speaking of associations, don't assume the Rams' losing record means the Patriots will have it easy in Kingston. For starters, recall last season's 92-90 overtime win in Paul Hewitt's George Mason coaching debut. The current Rhode Island roster hung tough with No. 4 Ohio State and lost in overtime against Loyola (Md.) before finally claiming victory Sunday in double-overtime at Auburn.
Guard Xavier Munford tallied 33 points in the Rams' 78-72 win as the 6-foot-2 junior forced the second extra session with a desperation 3-point field goal. Munford leads the Rams in scoring with 17 per game while senior forward Nikola Malesevic does a little bit of everything, averaging 15.6 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.6 steals and knocks down 42 percent of 3-point attempts. Malesevic scored 12 points in last season's matchup in Fairfax while Wright and Vertrail Vaughns each had 17 for the Patriots.