George Mason trailed Villanova for 30 straight minutes entering the final ninety seconds of the game. They were able to crawl within three points of the Wildcats numerous times in the second half without getting over the hump to take the lead. But a Ryan Pearson three-point play tied the game with a minute and a half to go, and after a missed Villanova free throw, George Mason took a 56-54 lead on a Mike Morrison dunk. Villanova’s Corey Fisher was fouled on a three point attempt on the next possession and made all three free-throws to give the Wildcats a one point lead.
With 20 seconds on the clock, Luke Hancock tried to go to his right and drive the lane, but Corey Fisher anticipated the move and stopped him in his tracks. With nowhere else to go, Hancock stepped back and drilled a 3-pointer that put the Patriots up by two. Villanova turned the ball over on their next possession, leading to a George Mason dunk to close out the game for a 61-57 victory.
Three George Mason players scored in double digits -- Luke Hancock led the Patriots with 18 points and Mike Morrison and Isaiah Tate each scored 10.
Villanova coach Jay Right gave George Mason all the credit after the game, “I know we’ve failed a lot coming down the stretch of games, and I don’t want to take away anything from George Mason because it was a great NCAA tournament game.” He added, “I think that was the story of the game. They made plays down the stretch. That three by Hancock, that was huge... Huge.”
George Mason advances to the third round to play the winner of the Ohio State - UTSA game.
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