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Late George Mason rally falls short in 80-76 loss to South Dakota State

George MasonGeorge Mason nearly erased an 11-point deficit but couldn’t finish the comeback, falling 80-76 to South Dakota State Wednesday night in the Sanford Pentagon.

Mason led 51-44 with under 13 minutes to go, but SDSU put together a critical 16-2 run to build a lead it would not relinquish.

Graduate student D’Shawn Schwartz led Mason with a career-best 29 points (12-20 FG) to go along with four rebounds and three assists.

Junior Josh Oduro added 20 points (8-11 FG) and seven rebounds. For his outstanding efforts at the Crossover Classic, he was named to the All-Tournament Team at the conclusion of the game.

Graduate student DeVon Cooper registered 15 points and dished out a season-best six assists in 38 minutes on the floor.

The Jackrabbits shot 54.9 percent from the floor, including a 10-of-20 mark from 3-point range (.500).

Mason also hit the 50 percent mark for the game (30-60), but converted at a 33.3 percent clip (8-24) from beyond the arc.

The Jackrabbits held a sizable 23-8 edge in free throw attempts in the game which led to a +6 edge in points from the charity stripe.

The teams played to an 8-8 tie, before SDSU rattled off six straight to build a 14-8 advantage. A Hartwell II 3-pointer cut the lead to four (17-13), but at that point, the Jackrabbits went on a 7-0 run to build a 24-13 edge.

SDSU led 35-26 with 3:28 left in the stanza, but Mason closed the half on a 6-0 spurt – highlighted by a long Cooper 2-pointer to beat the buzzer. The Jackrabbits entered the half up three (35-32).

Mason rocketed out of the gate in the second half and stretched the run to 14-0 to take a 40-35 edge. SDSU tied it up at 42-42, but from there, Mason responded with a 9-2 run to go up 51-44 at the 12:44 mark.

From there, Mason could only convert one field goal in the next seven minutes, as the Jackrabbits utilized a 16-2 run to build a 60-53 advantage. The Patriots moved back within four (62-58) on free throws from Oduro, but another 6-0 spurt from the Jackrabbits put them up 10 (68-58) with 3:22 to go.

Mason cut it to four (75-71) with 22 seconds left, but SDSU made its free throws to close out the game.

The Patriots now will take a nine-day break before returning to action on Dec. 4 vs. Old Dominion in Fairfax. The 7 p.m. contest will be televised regionally on MASN and broadcast nationally via ESPN+.