Mason knocks off Villanova in NCAAs
Sophomore Luke Hancock drained a 3-pointer from the left side with 21 seconds remaining, giving the George Mason men’s basketball team the lead for good as the eighth-seeded Patriots took down No. 9-seed Villanova, 61-57, on Friday afternoon at the Quicken Loans Arena. The win advances Mason (27-6) to the third round where it awaits the top overall seed Ohio State, and also matched the school single-season win total held by the 2006 Final Four team. Villanova concludes its season with a 21-12 record.
Hancock scored a team-high 18 points while junior Mike Morrison posted his first double-double of the season with 11 rebounds and 10 points. Senior Isaiah Tate matched Morrison’s scoring total with 10 points, while the Wildcats were led by 20 points from Corey Fisher.
The Patriots trailed by six with 3:28 remaining but mounted a 8-0 run punctuated by Morrison’s dunk at the 55-second mark to make the score 56-54 in favor of the Green and Gold. After Tate was whistled for a foul on Fisher behind the arc, Fisher connected on all three attempts from the line to make it 57-56 Wildcats with 31 seconds left.
On their next possession, the Patriots found Hancock who drained the trey, and a missed jumper by Corey Stokes with 0:06 showing on the clock resulted in a rebound by junior Ryan Pearson, feeding the ball to Hancock on the fast break who found Morrison for a highlight-reel dunk as time expired, setting the final margin.
Mason trailed by as many as 10 points in the first half, before cutting the gap to 35-29 at the half. The Wildcats connected on six 3-point attempts in the opening half and outrebounded Mason 20-14. That figure was reversed to a 22-15 advantage for the Patriots in the second half, who held VU to 29.2 percent field goal shooting in the second half.
The victory is the first for the Patriots over the Wildcats in five tries, as well as the second-ever victory over a BIG EAST foe for George Mason. The other, a 86-84 overtime win over Connecticut five years ago which sent the Patriots to the Final Four.