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George Mason wins 2OT thriller at UMass, 93-92

George MasonGeorge Mason pulled off an improbable comeback to start A-10 play 1-0, rallying past Massachusetts 93-92 in double overtime Wednesday night inside the Mullins Center.

The Patriots (5-2) trailed by eight (59-51) with 1:20 left in regulation, by seven (73-66) with 3:04 to go in OT and by five with 1:25 to go in double OT. But each time, Mason came up with gritty plays and huge shots, including late in that second overtime, when AJ Wilson, Josh Oduro, Xavier Johnson, Greg Calixte and Bahaïde Haïdara all had fouled out.

Junior Jordan Miller led the Green & Gold with a game-high 26 points to go along with eight rebounds and five assists, while fellow junior Jamal Hartwell II added 19 points and went 4-of-5 from 3-point range. That sizzling performance included a 3-pointer to send the game into a second overtime, and two triples with under two minutes to go in 2OT which put the Patriots ahead for good.

Freshman Tyler Kolek matched his career-high with 19 points on 6-of-9 shooting, and made three clutch free throws to tie the score at the end of regulation.

In addition, Wilson added nine points, six rebounds and four blocks, while Johnson notched seven rebounds and five assists.

With a skeleton crew in the second overtime, Mason made 6-of-9 field goal attempts, 3-of-3 3-point field goal attempts and all three free throws. In all, the Patriots made their last six 3-point attempts.

UMass jumped out to an early 12-7 advantage, but Mason used an 8-0 spurt, including back-to-back buckets from Jordan Miller, to take a 15-12 lead. The Patriots went up 20-16 after a Bahaïde Haïdara offensive put back at the 5:53 mark, but from there, Mason could convert just two field goals for the remainder for the stanza as UMass took a 28-25 edge into the break.

The Minutemen scored eight of the first 10 points of the second half to go up nine (36-27), but Mason moved back to within two (41-39) after a 3-point play from Miller at the 14:13 mark. From there, despite solid defense from the Patriots, Mason could muster just two field goals over the next eight minutes. That kept the Green & Gold down two to six points until Hartwell tied it up at 46-46 on free throws with 5:43 left.

UMass went back up five (54-49) and led 59-51 with less than two minutes to play, but six points from Kolek and a number of key stops tied it up at 62-62 and sent the game to overtime.

Hartwell II nailed the 3-pointer with under 10 seconds to go in the first overtime to tie it up at 80-80 and send the game to a second OT. Then in that period, with Mason down 91-86 with 1:25 left, Hartwell II hit back to back triples to put Mason up 92-91. Then, after a UMass free throw tied it up at 92-92, Jordan Miller was fouled and hit a free throw to win the game for Mason.

Mason returns to action Saturday when the Patriots play at Dayton. Tip-off inside UD Arena is set for 4:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast nationally on NBC Sports Network.

augusta free press
augusta free press