George Mason guard Cam Long scored 30 points Saturday at James Madison, leading the Patriots to a 75-73 victory. But it was how he did it that was noteworthy.
Long took just nine shots from the floor, hitting eight, including all four from 3-point range. The 6-foot-4 guard also made 10 of 13 free throws. Long's performance ranks among the most efficient in the NCAA this season. Among players who have scored 30 or more points in a game, only three others have scored more than three times as many points as shots they took from the floor.
James Nunnally of UC Santa Barbara scored 34 points on 11 shots against Santa Clara. Darren Moore of UC Irvine scored 30 points on nine shots against San Diego. The most efficient 30-point game came from Tommie Sykes of Louisiana-Monroe, who scored 32 points on nine shots. The effort, however, comes with a catch. It was against NAIA Division II school Union (Ky.).
Long's performance came under the most duress. George Mason was in a high-pressure, national TV game and in front of a hostile crowd. But Long hit several silencing shots.
Hitting 50 percent from the floor and 45 percent from 3-point range, Long (15.3 ppg) is enjoying his finest season after a mystifying junior year in which he hit just 38 percent from the floor and 32 percent from beyond the arc.
Patriots coach Jim Larranaga credits improved teamwork.
"Oftentimes Cam would be open and we wouldn't find him until it was too late," Larranaga said. "Then he'd have to take a more difficult shot. [This year] the guys have been focused on finding the open man."