Cam Long drives against UNCW Seahawks in the beginning of Saturday night’s win. Photo by Peter Flint

As Saturday night’s conference opening match-up with the UNCW Seahawks came to a close, senior guard Cam Long found himself at the end of the bench.

Long — who entered the game with 993 career points — and his teammates outperformed the Seahawks in the first 25 minutes of game and led George Mason University to an early 35-point advantage.

But his value to the team does not end when he reaches the sidelines.

“Teammates, you’ve got to cheer for each other,” Long said. “It’s really going to count during away games. We’ve got to have each other’s backs.”
Last season, Long was one of two players with a significant amount of playing experience. He was forced to carry the load for a youthful team and was seemingly affected by the heavy burden.

“I think Cam, more than anybody, felt the burden of having to carry such a young team last year,” Coach Larranaga said. “And no player can make up for as many youthful errors as we were making.”

In this young season, however, Long has been allowed the opportunity to focus on the execution of his own role. He has played a more relaxed brand of basketball and is among the leaders in nearly every offensive statistical category this season.

“It definitely takes a load off because I don’t have to do as much [this season],” Long said. “That’s one thing I’m glad I can see this year. I don’t have to be the guy that’s trying to do everything. We’ve got other people on the team that are capable of doing the same things that I’m capable of doing. That’s one thing I’m real happy about.”

Entering Saturday night’s conference matchup, Long needed just seven points to push him over the century mark in the scoring category.

He was averaging a steady 11.8 points, 3.4 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game. But, with his team up big, Long wasn’t on the floor late in the game to notch his seven points and finished two shy of 1,000.

Needing just a bucket to reach the milestone, Long is expected to hit the mark at the Patriot Center in Wednesday night’s meeting with Loyola.
It’s just two points,” Long said. “I have to get it this time.”