(photo courtesy Paradise Jam)
ST. THOMAS, U.S.V.I. - Two 3-pointers inside the final 11 seconds allowed New
Mexico to overtake the George Mason men's basketball team, 70-69, in a last-second
stunner Sunday night at the Paradise Jam.
The Patriots, who led for nearly the
entire second half, dropped to 2-2 and will play Quinnipiac on Monday at 8:30 p.m. Atlantic time (7:30 p.m.
ET). The game will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network.
Junior Sherrod Wright led the Patriots with 22 points, one
of three in double digits as he was joined by 12 points and a team-high eight
rebounds from Johnny Williams, and 11 points by freshman Patrick Holloway. The
Lobos, meanwhile, were powered by 27 points from Tony Snell, including the
The Patriots built a lead as large as seven points in the
second half, one that, save for a tie at 30-30, the Patriots led throughout
until the final seconds. Cameron Bairstow tipped in a missed Alex Kirk jumper
at the 1:13 mark to cut the Mason lead to 63-62, but Wright answered with a
4-point play, sinking a trey and the subsequent free throw after he was fouled
at the 17-second mark.
Six seconds later, Williams hit a 3-pointer from well beyond
the arc, and after the Patriots couldn't get the ball inbounded, Snell fired a
three from the left corner, and it was on the mark to give the Lobos the lead
Mason stormed out to a 6-0 lead behind back-to-back
3-pointers by Wright, but the Lobos answered with eight in a row of their own
to take the lead five minutes into the contest. From there, the remainder of
the first half would see-saw back and forth, with a total of nine lead changes
and seven ties. Neither team gained a lead greater than one possession, with a
pair of Vaughns free throws at the 35.6-second mark tying the score once more
at 28, the eventual halftime margin.
The Patriots drained 6-of-13 attempts from behind the
3-point arc in the first half, but just three of 17 tries from 2-point
range to shoot 30 percent overall. New
Mexico was slightly better at 39.1 percent, but was out-rebounded by a 19-16
margin and committed three more turnovers, 11-8.
For the game, the Lobos held a 44-to-41.4 percent field goal
shooting advantage, but Mason outrebounded UNM 35-30. The Patriots also won the turnover battle,