Livingston II game-winner powers George Mason past Fordham, 71-68

george masonBehind a big-time, last-second 3-pointer from senior guard Otis Livingston II, George Mason pulled out an important 71-68 victory over Fordham Saturday night.

In front of a boisterous EagleBank Arena crowd, the Patriots erased a nine-point deficit with 5:25 to play. The Green & Gold closed the game on a 16-4 run, including a key 3-pointer from Ian Boyd and six points from Livingston II. That included the final 3-pointer with just four tenths of a second remaining.

With the victory, Mason (11-8) improves to 5-1 in A-10 play with a big contest awaiting at Dayton Wednesday.

“This was a heck of a win. In the first half, we weren’t as sharp defensively as we’ve been,{ head coach Dave Paulsen said. “They hit some pretty tough shots so you have to give them a lot of credit. We had to hang our hat on the defensive end and we stepped it up in the second half.”

After the Rams shot 50 percent in the first half, Mason hunkered down and limited Fordham to just 37 percent (10-27) in the second. In a stretch where the Patriots missed five open 3-pointers midway through the half and Fordham led by five, Mason remained vigilant on the defensive end and did not let the margin increase. That greatly helped the overall mindset of the club as the Patriots mounted the comeback late in the game.

Livingston II finished with 17 points, a game-high six assists and made all seven of his attempts from the free throw line. It marked the second buzzer beater in EagleBank Arena for Livingston II, as the Linden, N.J., product also hit a game winner to beat Saint Joseph’s in 2017-18.

“Everything slows down and gets quiet,” Livingston II said of his mindset when he makes a key play. “It’s a natural thing. I read the play, see where my guys are on the floor and make the best possible read I can.”

Junior Justin Kier added a team-high 18 points (7-13 FG) and nine rebounds while making three assists and three steals in 37 minutes. He is now averaging 19.7 points, 11.3 rebounds and shooting 54.1 percent in league play.

Freshman Jordan Miller chipped in nine points (3-4 FG) despite battling foul trouble, while redshirt-junior Jarred Reuter tallied eight points (3-3 FG) and nine rebounds in 23 minutes. Sophomore Javon Greene had seven points and three assists, while making a series of key plays as time wound down.

Mason dished out 16 assists and made eight steals in the game. The Patriots made 14-of-18 free throw attempts and shot 47.1 percent (24-51) overall for the game.

Fordham hit two of its first three 3-pointers and jumped out to a 10-8 lead. The Rams led 17-15, but Mason scored five of the next six points to build a 20-18 lead at the 10:53 mark of the half. Fordham then converted a 3-pointer and hit a trio of free throws on an ensuing possession to go back up 24-23. Mason tied it up at 30-30, but Nick Honor nailed a deep triple to put Fordham back up 35-32 with under three minutes to go in the half.

Mason scored the first five points of the first half to build a 39-38 lead, but Fordham answered with a 5-0 spurt to take a 46-43 edge five minutes into the second stanza. Kier picked off a Rams pass and finished plus the harm to push Mason back up three (49-46).

But from there, Mason could not score for more than four minutes and Fordham hit a pair of 3-pointers to push it to eight (59-51) at the 8-minute mark. The Rams went up nine (64-55) on a tough triple from Honor with 5:25 remaining, but from there, Mason began the comeback.

Boyd quickly answered with the triple, then Greene surged to the rim for a dunk off a great pass from Livingston II. Kier then hit a jumper to push Mason within two (64-62) and Boyd hit a second 3-pointer to give Mason the lead (65-64) with 3:07 left.

After Fordham went back up one, Livingston II was fouled shooting a 3-pointer and made all the free throws to put Mason up 68-66. However, the same thing happened on the ensuing Fordham possession, as Jalen Cobb was fouled shooting a 3 with 23 seconds left. He made two of the three to tie it at 68-68. But then after a timeout, Livingston II hit the big shot to send Mason home victorious.

With the win, the Patriots have now won nine of their past 12 games.

Mason heads back on the road for a Wednesday contest in one of the A-10’s most raucous road venues. The Patriots will battle Dayton inside UD Arena at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN+ and locally on Spectrum News One in Ohio.


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