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(Friday, November 16th)
Final Score: George Mason 52, Mercer 49
St. Thomas, VI (Sports Network) - Sherrod Wright sank two key free throws in the final seconds, the last of his 14 points, as George Mason topped Mercer, 52-49, in the first round of the Paradise Jam.
Johnny Williams posted a team-high 16 points with 10 rebounds for the Patriots (2-1), who advance to face New Mexico on Sunday.
Travis Smith recorded a game-best 17 points for the Bears (2-1), who received eight points from Jakob Gollon and seven from Daniel Coursey. Mercer awaits UIC in the consolation bracket on Saturday.
Two from the line by TJ Hallice put Mercer ahead 43-37 with 6:37 remaining, but George Mason finished with a 15-6 run to steal the contest.
Marko Gujanicic began the stretch with a three-point play before Williams added a bucket to cut the deficit to one. Wright then added a jumper with 2:19 on the clock to put the Patriots ahead, then after Smith hit two from the line to put the Bears back on top, Wright connected twice from the charity stripe and Vertrail Vaughns added a basket for a 48-45 game.
Williams' layup with 29 seconds left once again made it a three-point spread and Wright's free throws on the next trip down the floor sealed it for George Mason.
Mercer led 23-21 at intermission, thanks in large part to 28 percent shooting by George Mason -- which hit 13-of-17 shots in the second half.
11/16 20:44:09 ET
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