Derrick Gordon converted a layup for #16 Massachusetts with eight seconds left in regulation to give the Minutemen the final 88-87 lead Wednesday night in the Patriot Center. george mason led by five with 41 seconds remaining before UMass closed the game with a 7-1 spurt for the comeback victory.
Mason dropped to 7-10 on the season with the defeat and 0-3 in league play, while UMass improved to 15-1 and remained undefeated against A-10 opponents at 3-0. UMass entered the game with a #16 national ranking in the AP poll and #15 ranking in the USA Today Coaches Poll.
The conference foes stood tied at 81 with 1:59 left to play as Bryon Allen connected on a three-point play and Sherrod Wright hit a pair of free throws for an 86-81 Mason lead with 41 seconds on the clock. Chaz Williams finished a fastbreak layup to pull UMass within three before Allen hit the back end of a pair of free throws for an 87-83 score with 32 seconds left. Williams hit a free throw and layup in the next eight seconds as a Mason turnover returned possession to the Minutemen. Williams’ layup was off, but Derrick Gordon converted the rebound for the go-ahead and final 88-87 score.
Wright finished the contest with 26 points, followed by Allen with 21 and Jalen Jenkins with 16. The Patriots finished 22-of-31 from the free throw line and pulled down 19 offensive rebounds which led to 23 second chance points. Marquise Moore and Johnny Williams each recorded three blocks, while Jenkins posted two. Jenkins finished just shy of a double-double with a team-leading nine rebounds as UMass narrowly edged Mason on the glass, 39-36.
For the Minutemen, Williams finished with 26 points. Cady Lulanne added 19, while Raphiael Putney and Gordon contributed 12 and 10 points, respectively. Lalanne led UMass with nine rebounds, while Williams finished with eight assists and five steals to compliment his 26 points. UMass finished with 54 points in the paint while Mason had 48.
The teams worked through 14 lead changes and eight tied scores as Mason led by as many as eight points in the second half. UMass’ largest lead was four points held twice in the first half. Mason led at the halftime break, 47-45, and held UMass at bay until the Minutemen took its first lead in the second half at the 4:08 mark. Both squads scored 11 points in the final four minutes to account for the final 88-87 score.
Mason hits the road and visits Rhode Island on Saturday, January 18 for a 12:30 p.m. tip on NBCSN.