FAIRFAX, Va. –
The University of Massachusetts men's basketball team rallied back from down 16-points on Saturday evening against George Mason to take a late lead before eventually falling in the second overtime contest between the two teams on a buzzer-beating layup, 78-76. C.J. Anderson
led the way for UMass (11-18 Overall, 4-12 Atlantic 10) with 21 points, six rebounds and four assists, including a game-tying layup with five seconds left in the overtime period.
The UMass defense held George Mason (14-15 Overall, 8-8 Atlantic 10) off the scoreboard for just over four minutes to open the game, going ahead 5-0 while forcing three turnovers early before the Patriots came back with three straight made 3-pointers to eventually go ahead 11-7.
led the Minuteman offense by connecting on his first four shots from deep, including his third triple that tied things up at 15-15 with 9:57 left in the half. The freshman posted 12 of his 15 points in the half before running into foul trouble by picking up his third with 2:16 on the clock.
The Patriots went on to outscore the Minutemen 20-5 to end the half, putting together a pair of quick scoring runs to improve their shooting percentage on their way to finishing the half 15-of-30 from the field. UMass was held scoreless for the final 4:42 of the half after a Randall West
layup broke up a pair of multi-possession scoring runs for George Mason, who capped off the half on an 8-0 run to go up 36-20.
UMass opened the second half with strong play on the defensive end while scoring on their first five possessions, capped off by a Unique McLean
dunk that helped spark a 12-0 Minuteman run. McLean had six points during the run while Rayshawn Miller
added five on their way to helping the defense hold the Patriots to 1-of-9 from the field to open up the half and go 5:48 of gametime without a field goal. Miller finished as one of four Minutemen in double figures with 11 while dishing out five assists.
helped UMass tie things up for the first time since 9:57 left in the first half with an offensive rebound and a layup for his 10th
rebound before going on to tie it at 55-55 with his 10th
point to give him his second double-double of the season. The UMass offense was much improved in the second half, connecting on 17-of-31 attempts from the field for 55-percent on their way to finishing the night 41-percent from the field.
Jaire Grayer connected on two straight 3-pointers to put the Patriots back ahead, this time by three points at 61-58 with 1:26 remaining in regulation. Grayer finished with 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting with 10 rebounds while Otis Livingston II scored a game-high 22 points.
Hines made the third consecutive shot for UMass down the stretch, draining a turnaround jumper from just inside the arc with the shot clock expiring to go ahead one before a pair of Pierre free throws put the Minutemen up 64-61.
Goanar Mar drew a foul on a 3-point attempt with just 0.9-seconds remaining, connecting on all three to force overtime for the second time this season between the two teams. The Patriots took the momentum into overtime, going ahead by four at 71-67 before Anderson scored four straight points to tie with five-seconds left before a Patriot layup on the other end sealed the win as time expired.
added a career-high eight points off the bench to go along with six rebounds while McLean finished with eight and seven respectively.
The Minutemen will play their final road game of the regular season on Wednesday, Feb. 28 against Richmond before returning home for Senior Day in the Mullins Center finale on Saturday, March 3 at 8 p.m.
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