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ODU gets CAA road win at George Mason

The George Mason men’s basketball team got within one possession in the final 20 seconds of the game but was unable to net the game-winning score as the Patriots were edged by Old Dominion, 69-65, in Colonial Athletic Association action on Saturday afternoon before 8,344 fans at the Constant Center. The loss drops the Patriots to 2-2 in CAA play and 10-5 overall, while the Monarchs, the league’s defending champion, improved to 12-3 (3-1 CAA).

Senior Cam Long scored a season-high 23 points on 9-of-14 shooting to lead three Patriots in double figures, as junior Ryan Pearson and sophomore Luke Hancock each chipped in 13 points. Frank Hassell scored 18 points to lead a quartet of Monarchs in double digits. Going up against the nation’s fourth-best rebounding squad, the Patriots pulled down 31 boards compared to 35 for the Monarchs, but the home team outscored Mason 23-8 on second chance opportunities.

Mason led 5-2 early on, and continued to hold the advantage until James’s 3-pointer at the 17:19 mark put the Monarchs ahead, 7-5. Hancock’s layup tied the score, but the Monarchs went on to lead by as many as three before Long’s trey tied the score once again at 14, part of an 8-0 run which put the Patriots ahead, 19-14. ODU erased that margin with an 8-0 run of their own. The one-sided scoring returned to Mason, on a 6-0 spree which returned the advantage to the Green and Gold.

The Monarchs twice tied the score, including at 30 where it stayed for nearly a minute and a half, before a pair of free throws and a Finney layup made it 34-30 in favor of ODU which ended up as the halftime score. Long accounted for half of the Patriot scoring including a 3-for-3 performance from beyond the arc.

ODU increased its lead to 39-32 in the fledgling moments of the second half, but the Patriots whittled the advantage away, regaining the lead at 43-42 on a layup by Tate with 14:21 showing on the clock. That was part of an 11-3 run which stretched more than five minutes. Three more times the lead changed hands before a 12-4 run by the Monarchs made it 54-47 with under eight minutes to go.

Mason continued to trail for until the final two minutes, cutting it to 63-62 with 2:41 remaining when Pearson drained a 3-pointer and then tying the score at 65 on Long’s fourth trey. After a bucket by Hassell, the Monarchs went ahead 67-65. Scoreless for the next 1:18 seconds, the Patriots had the ball with under 20 seconds to go and a Andre Cornelius 3-point attempt from the top of the key hit back iron. Hassell was fouled after the ODU rebound and sank both attempts of a one-and-one to hold off the Patriots in the four-point victory.

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