A three-point possession, fueled by a technical foul on the Creighton bench with 18.0 seconds left, keyed George Mason’s 75-72 win over Creighton on Saturday afternoon at Patriot Center. The chaotic final 30 seconds changed the momentum of a back-and-forth game that featured 20 lead changes and 12 ties.
George Mason moved to 5-5 with the win, while Creighton is now 3-5 on the season. Free throws played a pivotal part of the game. The Patriots made 31-of-44 shots at the line for the game, including 20-of-29 in the second half, compared to CU’s 10-of-18 overall and 8-of-13 after intermission. Just days after making its final 12 at the line in a win over Nebraska, Creighton missed the front end of two bonus situations late in the game.
The first half featured 14 lead changes and 10 ties, with neither team able to go ahead by more than five pooints. Creighton tried to do most of its damage from the outside, attempting 17-of-27 field goals from downtown. CU converted seven of those, including three from Darryl Ashford.
Creighton came out hitting from outside and inside to take a 49-45 lead with 15 minutes to play. The Jays would then have three chances to build on that lead, but a missed lay-up, a turnover and missed trey proved costly when Mason’s Ryan Pearson answered with a three-point play to get the Patriots within one at 51-50.
P’Allen Stinnett answered Mike Morrison’s basket with Creighton’s 12th three-pointer of the contest, giving the Jays a 57-53 lead with 10:37 left in the game.
Creighton took its largest lead of the first 34 minutes with 6:55 to play when Justin Carter scored and was fouled on a driving lay-up. That put the Jays ahead 63-57. After two Mason free throws, Wayne Runnels converted a three-point play to give CU a 66-59 advantage with 5:26 remaining.
Creighton led 68-62 with 2:45 to play. Coming out of a Mason timeout, Carter would miss the front-end of a 1-and-1 opportunity. Mason would get a free throw from Mike Morrison to close within five at the 2:28 mark. Luke Hancock would then steal the inbounds pass and eventually get fouled, making two at the stripe to close the Patriots within 68-65 with 2:21 to go.
It would remain a three-point game until Mason star Cam Long went to the line and make one to get the Patriots within 68-66 with 1:20 to play. Stinnett would make both shots of a bonus situation to return CU’s lead to 70-66 with 1:20 left. Long would answer with a pull-up basket to make it 70-68 and 1:11 to go. Ashford would go to the line with 1:04 left and the second of two shots, giving CU a three-point cushion heading into the final minute.
Long would miss a distant three-pointer but Mason got the rebound. Hancock would drive to the basket and be fouled with 31.2 seconds left. He sank both shots to get Mason within one point, 71-70. Cavel Witter made the second free throw with 27.9 seconds left as CU went ahead 72-70.
After Mason called its final timeout, Long would drive and Carter would be called for a blocking foul with 18.0 seconds left that led to Brad Gaston calling a technical foul on the Bluejay bench. Hancock hit both free throws awarded from the technical foul the line to tie the score, then Long made his second at the line to give Mason a one-point lead. A Bluejay turnover led to a breakaway dunk from Hancock with 2.3 seconds left.
Creighton called its final timeout and Carter’s 35-footer would hit the side of the rim, much to the delight of the crowd of 5,502.
Stinnett led CU with 21 points. Carter (13) and Ashford (10) also scored in double-figures. Carter led CU’s rebounding efforts with eight boards. Creighton shot 46.3 percent for the game, including 12-of-29 from downtown.
Maosn was keyed by 22 points from Long, all but four after halftime. Ryan Pearson had a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. ALso in double-figures was Tate (10) and Hancock (11). The Patriots made 40 percent of its shots from the field and 4-of-15 from downtown, in addition to 31-of-44 shooting from the line.
Creighton returns to action on Dec. 16th with a 7:05 pm home game against Savannah State.
Story courtesy of Creighton Athletics.