Dre Smith of George Mason Sets NCAA Record for Three Point Shooting

George Mason started January as a team looking for its identity. Losses to Georgia State and Delaware had them behind the eight-ball in the CAA and the preseason conference favorites were looking like a team with more flaws than assets. Things changed quickly, though. Will Thomas had a career game to stave off an upset in double overtime at Hofstra on Thursday and then Dre Smith shot his way into the record books during yesterday's 96-75 win at James Madison.

Smith made all 10 of his three-point tries to set a NCAA record for most tries without a miss. He finished with 34 points overall, a career-high which was only part of the reason to believe the Patriots are on the right track. They also outrebounded the Dukes by 14 and shot 65% for the game. Delaware lost for the second straight time yesterday, which leaves GMU in a three-way tie behind VCU in the Colonial.

The Rams won 78-68 at Old Dominion yesterday. They don't have the depth of the Patriots but they have two players in Eric Maynor and Jamal Shuler who can go off any night. They each scored 26 points against ODU and each finished with a double-double to boot. Shuler had 11 boards and Maynor dished 10 assists, an overwhelming two-man band.

Elsewhere in mid-major action, Butler rebounded from their loss to Cleveland State with a win in Youngstown. They led by as many as 20 before holding off the Penguins late for a 78-69 victory but all is not perfect with the Bulldogs.

A.J. Graves has been struggling for a month and had another rough outing on Saturday. Matt Howard and Mike Green are good enough to carry the team to the Horizon title but any March noisemaking has to include deadeye shooting from Graves. He hit a couple of threes to hold off YSU but the Bulldogs need 40 minutes of Graves, not spurts.

They'll remain a game back of Cleveland State, which beat Valparaiso 69-63 at home. The Crusaders died by the three, 9-of-24, while the Vikings continued their inside domination of the Horizon. 30 free throws and a seven-rebound edge helped move them to 7-0.

South Alabama won for the 11th straight time, extending their hold on the Sun Belt. Five Jaguars were in double figures to lead the 72-65 win at Arkansas-Little Rock. As the Jags make their way up the national ladder, they will be passing Sam Houston State. After a brief flirtation with relevance, the Bearkats have lost two of their first four Southland games and look nothing like the hard-nosed team that gained fans early. A 93-90 OT loss at Lamar casts some serious doubt about their fitness over the long haul.

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