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George Mason falls at Duquesne in 2OT thriller, 95-89

george masonGeorge Mason erased deficit after deficit and put forth an extraordinary effort Saturday in the Palumbo Center but it wasn’t quite enough to capture victory, as the Patriots fell to Duquesne, 95-89, in double overtime.

Mason (9-11, 3-4) trailed by as many as 15 in the first half and 11 in the second, but the Patriots fought all the way back to lead by three (75-72) with six seconds remaining in regulation. But Duquesne’s Eric Williams Jr. hit a 3-pointer to force overtime.

Mason was behind by seven (84-77) in overtime with 1:27 left, but again, the Patriots battled all the way back, with a coast-to-coast Justin Kier lay-up sending the game to double overtime. But Duquesne (14-6, 5-2) held a 10-4 edge in the second extra session to come away with the victory.

“We’re devastated but at the same token, we talk to our guys about giving great effort, showing toughness and putting up a good fight,” head coach Dave Paulsen said. “I’m proud of our guys. We did that today and lost to a very good opponent on the road.”

Kier led the Patriots with a monster effort, posting a career-best 27 points on 10-of-15 shooting. He also made all seven of his free throws and grabbed four rebounds in 45 minutes. He made strong drive after strong drive whenever the Patriots needed a big bucket in the contest.

Junior Jaire Grayer also made critical plays for the Green & Gold, finishing with 22 points to go along with a career-best 15 rebounds. It marked Grayer’s second-straight double-double and his fourth of the year. The Flint, Mich., product also dished out four assists and is now averaging 4.5 assists over the past two contests.

Sophomore Ian Boyd chipped in 17 points, eight rebounds and hit a trio of 3-pointers, while Otis Livingston II tallied 12 points and dished out a team-high six assists. Freshman Greg Calixte marked the fifth Mason player in double figures, with 10 points to go along with seven rebounds in 33 minutes.

Duquesne shot 63.6 percent (14-22) in the first half, but the Patriots held the Dukes to just 37 percent (17-46) over the final 30 minutes. Mason also held a +9 edge on the glass and grabbed a season-high 52 rebounds.

The Patriots shot 53.6 percent in the second half to get back into the game, but struggled from the floor in the extra sessions (4-19). The Green & Gold held sizable advantages in points in the paint (44-30) and fast break points (25-6) for the game.

Duquesne hit its first eight shots of the game and jumped out to a 22-7 lead, seven minutes into the contest. The Patriots made just 3-of-17 field goal attempts during that stretch. Mason then proceeded to convert three field goals in a row to move back within 10 (22-12) and six of their next eight to get within four (27-23) after a 3-point play from Kier. Duquesne went back up eight (34-26), but Mason scored eight of the final 12 points of the half to trail by just four (38-34) at the break.

The Dukes shot 63.6 percent in the opening half, but the Patriots forced 12 Duquesne turnovers which led to 14 points for the Green & Gold.

In the first five minutes of the second half, Mason moved within two at 38-36, 40-38 and 44-42. But the Patriots could not get over the hump, and Duquesne responded with a 10-2 spurt to go back up 11 (57-46) at the 11:56 mark of the stanza.

Duquesne led by nine (65-56) with 6:53 to go and by eight (68-60) with 4:54 left. But at that point, the Patriots put together a key 11-3 run, including five points from Boyd and four from Kier, to tie the game at 71-71 with 1:17 remaining.

The Patriots hit four free throws to go up three (75-72), but Duquesne hit the 3-pointer to tie it with six seconds to go in regulation. Kier had a last second drive to the rim with evident contact, but no foul was called, and the game went to overtime.

In OT, Mason trailed 84-77 with 1:27 left, but the Patriots would hold the Dukes to just one point over the final sequence. During that stretch, 3-pointers from Boyd and Kier moved the Patriots to within one (84-83). Then after a Duquesne free throw with 14 seconds left, Kier converted the lay-in as time expired to send the game to double overtime.

Duquesne held a 10-4 edge in the second overtime.

Mason returns home for the first of two contests vs. VCU on Saturday, January 27. The game will be broadcast nationally on CBS Sports Network. Tip time inside EagleBank Arena is set for 2 p.m.



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