AMHERST, Mass. –
The University of Massachusetts men's basketball rallied from down nine points in the first half and 12 points in the second half to take leads, but fell short to George Mason in overtime in their Atlantic 10 home opener Wednesday night in the Mullins Center 80-72. The Minutemen (7-8 Overall, 0-2 Atlantic 10) blocked a season-high 11 shots led by a career-high six blocks from Rashaan Holloway
on his way to finishing with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
George Mason (7-8 Overall, 1-1 Atlantic 10) missed three straight shots to open play before making eight of their next nine attempts to go ahead 21-12 on an Otis Livingston 3-pointer with 11:49 left in the first.
UMass steadily chipped away at the deficit throughout the first half, beginning with a string of five consecutive points by way of a Rayshawn Miller
pull-up jumper and a Carl Pierre
3-pointer after falling behind by nine to bring the score to 21-17 with just under 10 minutes left in the half. Pierre knocked down his third three in the half with three minutes left to bring UMass back within four points at 32-28 prior to a Unique McLean
baseline dunk to close out the half that saw the Minutemen come within two points for the first time since the 13:50 mark.
The Minutemen forced the Patriots into eight first-half turnovers leading to eight points as they found themselves behind just two points at 36-34 heading into the locker room despite being out-shot 48-percent to 39-percent in the first 20 minutes.
UMass continued their run into the second half as they took their first lead of the night at 38-36 after one of Holloway's three consecutive blocks led to a Malik Hines
dunk on the other end.
After UMass picked up their first lead, George Mason out-scored the Minutemen 19-5 on their way to building their largest lead of the night at 55-43 before being held without a field goal for the next 6:43 of game-time as the home team orchestrated their second comeback of the night.
capped off an 11-2 run that brought UMass within three with 8:31 remaining while Luwane Pipkins
opened the run with a scoop layup before knocking down two free throws. Pipkins dropped in a team-leading 15 points to go along with six rebounds and five assists while Baldwin came off the bench to add seven.
put UMass back ahead at 61-60 with a turnaround jumper in the paint with 3:49 remaining before the Patriots took back the lead at 66-63 with just over a minute left in regulation. Anderson went on to knock down a pair of free throws to knot it up at 66-66 down the stretch to send it to overtime. The senior scored 10 points and added six assists, giving him five or more dimes in the last eight games.
George Mason out-scored UMass 14-6 in the overtime period, going 8-of-8 at the free throw line to close out the contest on a night where they shot 22-of-22 for 91-percent. Otis Livingston had nine points in overtime and finished with 33 to lead all scorers with nine assists while Jaire Grayer pitched in 20.
The Minutemen will head back on the road as they travel to Dayton, Ohio to take on the Flyers on Sat., Jan. 6 at noon in the UD Arena.
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