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(Wednesday, January 15th)
Final Score: (16) Massachusetts 88, George Mason 87
Fairfax, VA (SportsNetwork.com) - Derrick Gordon scored the game-winning layup off a George Mason turnover with 8.1 seconds left, enabling 16th-ranked Massachusetts to escape with an 88-87 win over George Mason at the Patriot Center.
The Minutemen trailed 86-81 with 41 seconds remaining before outscoring the Patriots 7-1 the rest of the way, with Chaz Williams coming up with a crucial steal that led to Gordon's go-ahead bucket with time winding down.
Williams finished with 26 points on 11-of-17 shooting and added eight assists in igniting the Minutemen's comeback. Cady Lalanne chipped in 19 points and nine rebounds, while Raphiael Putney had 12 points to help Massachusetts (15-1, 3-0 A-10) prevail.
George Mason (7-10, 0-3) received 26 points from Sherrod Wright and 21 from Bryon Allen in defeat, with Jalen Jenkins recording 16 points and nine rebounds.
Williams drove coast-to-coast to convert a layup with 36 seconds to go that kept UMass within striking distance, then drove the lane and scored again after both teams went 1-of-2 from the foul line to cut George Mason's lead to 87-86 with 18 seconds on the clock.
The feisty point guard picked the ball away from Wright on the ensuing possession, but misfired from close range as the seconds ticked away. Gordon was in perfect position to grab the rebound, though, and successfully scored on the putback to give the Minutemen a stunning 88-87 lead that held up when Allen mishandled the ball on the subsequent inbounds play.
Prior to the late rally, George Mason was in front for much of the contest and appeared poised to spring the upset when building a 67-59 advantage with 11 1/2 minutes remaining. UMass countered with a 9-1 run, however, to forge a 68-68 tie entering the 8-minute media timeout.
The game remained nip-and-tuck over the duration, with Lalanne's jumper with just under two minutes to go knotting the score at 81-81. Allen then delivered a 3-point play on the other end and Wright sank a pair of free throws following a defensive stop, putting the Patriots up 86-81 with 41.3 seconds on the clock.
Allen netted eight points during a 12-6 surge that staked George Mason to a 19-15 edge near the midway mark of the first half. The Patriots were up by five moments later, before a 10-2 sequence sent the Minutemen back ahead by a 29-26 count with 5:47 remaining in the period.
The teams traded the lead five more times prior to Jenkins' layup that sent George Mason into the break owning a 47-45 edge. Wright then caught fire to begin the second half, accounting for the Patriots' first 12 points to give his team a 59-52 lead four minutes into the frame.
The win was the 100th for UMass head coach Derek Kellogg, who joined Jack Leaman (217) and current Kentucky boss John Calipari (193) as the only coaches to reach the mark at the school ... The Minutemen's 3-0 start in A-10 play is their first since the 2006-07 season ... Kellogg served as an assistant at George Mason under Jim Larranaga from 1997-99 ... The Minutemen shot 55 percent from the field but were outscored 23-12 by George Mason in second- chance points.
01/15 22:09:03 ET
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