A look back at losing streaks -- men's basketball

Paul Hewitt and Bryon Allen address the media after falling to Oklahoma in the BB&T Classic in December (photo by John Irwin).
Paul Hewitt and Bryon Allen address the media after falling to Oklahoma in the BB&T Classic in December (photo by John Irwin).

Mason men’s basketball let another close fought game slip through the fingertips in the waning minutes last night.

Traveling north to take on Fordham in a battle of teams winless in Atlantic 10 play, Mason struggled to hold onto a 10-point lead in the second half. 

After scoring only 36 points through the first 25 minutes of play, Fordham’s offense clicked over the final 15 minutes. Connecting on nearly 71 percent of their attempted field goals, the Rams stormed past the Patriots for a 76-70 victory.

Now 0-5 in A-10 play, Mason has lost six straight games for the first time since 1997. That’s a string of 636 games between extensive losing streaks.

Long before Mason became college basketball’s Cinderella, the green and gold struggled under several different coaches and styles of play.

Here’s a look back at past five-plus-game losing streaks in Mason history:

--1980: Perhaps the worst season in school history in terms of final record (4-21), Mason started the season 0-10. A 35-point loss to the University of Richmond and a 25-point letdown vs. Bowling Green State were the lowest points on the campaign.

--1981: In early January, Mason lost five straight at one point. Unlike 1980 where they appeared overwhelmed nearly every time they stepped onto the court, the ’81 squad made things at least respectable. Traveling to Cameron Indoor Stadium to take on Duke in January, the Patriots kept up with Blue Devils from opening tip before losing by a final score of 60-51.

--1990: Wanting to make a splash in his second season as head coach, Ernie Nester added matchups against top-echelon programs Louisville, Michigan St. and St. Johns (before they were cellar dwellars in the Big East). Combining losses to all three along with a bitter one-point defeat to Coastal Carolina, the Patriots lost seven straight before being exacting revenge against Coastal Carolina just 12 days later.

--1993: While 1981 was the worst year in program history, it was ‘93 that saw the worst string of losses. From January 2nd to February 13th, Mason played 14 games—and lost every single one. They ended up within 10 by the final whistle five times but were also blown out by 20 or more on four different occasions.

--1994-1995: Paul Westhead brought a wealth of experience and a flashy offense with him to Fairfax in 1993. Unfortunately, he also brought NBA-esque defense with him to Virginia too. During an 11-game losing streak, Mason allowed opponents to score 100 points or more six times. On January 28th the Patriots traveled south to take on UVA. Final score: 128-98.

--1997: While the Jim Larranaga Era will forever live on in greatest NCAA Tournament moments, the start of his tenure was rocky and filled with forgettable losses. Despite beating Howard in the season opener, Mason lost five straight that was earmarked by a 39-point loss to Penn State.  

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