UMass unable to close out, falls to George Mason in double overtime 93-92

Minutemen held eight point lead with 1:20 in regulation

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Daily Collegian/Mehroz Kapadia

By Joey Aliberti, Assistant Sports Editor

“One more stop!”

That was what you heard from the Massachusetts men’s basketball bench in the closing minute of the second half. A controversial TJ Weeks foul on a Tyler Kolek three-point attempt allowed George Mason to tie the game up at 62.

Tre Mitchell then had a chance to close the game out, but dribbled the ball behind his back, leading to a turnover.

“The last play in regulation I thought we defended extremely well,” said Minutemen coach Matt McCall. “That [foul] call was made instead of allowing the players to decide the game.”

UMass (2-3, 1-1 Atlantic 10) started out strong in the first overtime, even getting its lead up to seven with 3:26 left.

George Mason (5-2, 1-0 A-10) guard Jamal Hartwell II proceeded to nail two three-pointers in the final 50 seconds, the second of which to tie the game with seven seconds remaining.

With no timeouts left, Noah Fernandes drove the ball up the court and missed a heavily contested layup to send the game into a second overtime.

Double overtime was more of the same. Up six with three minutes. Hartwell II hit two threes in the final 1:07.

Down one, Mitchell missed one of two free throws to tie the game, leading to Jordan Miller taking the lead at the free throw line off his own offensive rebound.

With no timeouts and less than two seconds remaining, Ronnie DeGray III threw up a hopeless full-court heave as the buzzer sounded.

UMass was unable to get one more stop.

“We had some chances, some opportunities,” McCall said. “There’s different plays where you need to get a basket or a free throw and there’s different plays where you need to get a stop.”

“To be able to bounce back, to fight, to scratch, to claw, to get timely baskets, timely stops against a really good team on the road is phenomenal,” said Patriots head coach Dave Paulsen.

Up eight points with 1:20 in regulation, seven points with just over three minutes left in overtime and then six points with 1:44 left in double overtime is a crushing way to lose.

It hurts even more to lose in this fashion after a tough showing in the previous game against a Bryant team that the Minutemen expected to defeat.

Before the final 1.9 seconds in double overtime, George Mason did not hold the outright lead since there was 3:36 left in the first half.

Patriots starting frontcourt in AJ Wilson and Josh Oduro – who combined for six blocks – did not play in overtime because they fouled out.

Mitchell was able to score six of UMass’ 10 points in overtime but was unable to sink both of his free throws late in double overtime, which played crucial since Miller only had made one of his two.

The Minutemen kept control of the game until it mattered most, leaving George Mason wiggle room to squeeze out a win in a game where almost all hope was lost.

Joey Aliberti can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @JosephAliberti1