(Photo courtesy Craig Bisacre/Creative Services/George Mason University)
RICHMOND, Va. - Junior Bryon Allen keyed a sharp-shooting
George Mason offense with a career-high 20 points, but the Patriots were unable
to stave off top seed Northeastern as the Huskies defeated No. 4-seed Mason,
69-67, in the semifinal round of the 2013 Colonial Athletic Association Men's
Basketball Championship presented by Jani-King.
Mason concludes its season at 18-14, while the Huskies
improved to 20-11 and await the winner of #2 Delaware/#3 James Madison in the
championship game Monday night.
Allen was one of five double-figure scorers for the
Patriots, as freshman Marko Gujanicic contributed 12 points and juniors
Jonathan Arledge, Sherrod Wright and Vertrail Vaughns each chipped in 10. Mason
shot better than 63 percent from the field for the game, including a 15-19 mark
in the second half (78.9 percent). NU was led by 14 points from Jonathan Lee
and Joel Smith, the former sinking the game-winning layup with three seconds to
Mason's defense was stifling to open the contest, holding
the Huskies off the scoreboard for more than nine and a half minutes. In that
time, the Patriots put the first 13 points on the scoreboard, before Jonathan
Lee's basket at the 10:26 mark got the Huskies their first field goal of the
afternoon. Marshavelski added another bucket at the 9:01 mark, but it would be
NU's last for nearly five more minutes.
During that span, the Patriots stretched their advantage to
28-4, concluding at the 4:40 mark with an Edwards layup. It was the Patriots'
largest of the first half, matched moments later as Wright responded to a
Pollard trey with a shot clock buzzer-beating runner. It was his sixth points
of the game, and it pushed him over the 1,000-point mark. Immediately upon the
inbound, a technical foul was whistled on the Huskies' bench, and Vaughns sank
one of two at the free throw line to make it 31-7 with 3:36 to play.
NU's offense came alive to close the half, making six of
their final seven field goal attempts as the Huskies embarked on a 12-0 run to
close the period, cutting the halftime deficit to 31-19. Vaughns led all
players with 10 points as the Patriots shot 50 percent from the field (11-22),
while Pollard's eight points paced a 33.3-percent shooting Huskies team. Mason
also out-rebounded NU by a 18-12 mark.
The Huskies' run extended into the second half, draining
three 3-pointers in the first 90 seconds to pull within 31-28. Mason scored to
end a stretch of 21 unanswered on an Arledge layup at the 17:34 mark, but
Northeastern tied the score on Smith's layup at the 16:56 mark, making it
33-all. In a frantic, back-and-forth game from then on, the teams swapped the
lead seven times and tied six times.
Mason led by six points with three minutes to play, after an
Arledge layup made it 67-61, but the Patriots could not dent the scoreboard
again as free throws by Lee and Quincy Ford along with a Ford layup tied the
score at 67 with under a minute to play. The Patriots had an entry pass into
the paint to set up a go-ahead bucket, but with 30 seconds to play, NU emerged
with the ball and Lee laid it in. A desperation heave by Gujancic from the
half-court line was off the mark as the Huskies advanced.