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George Mason defeats Villanova in thrilling finish 61-57

George Mason Basketball: George Mason defeats Villanova in thrilling finish 61-57

Friday, March 18, 2011

George Mason defeats Villanova in thrilling finish 61-57

At times it looked ugly and at times it looked pretty hopeless for the Patriots but they hung and applied the pressure on defense to come out on top.  Mike Morrison put the exclamation point on the end of the game with a breakaway monster jam in the closing seconds. The big man finished with 10 points but more importantly a team-high 11 rebounds.  Luke Hancock really stepped up when the team needed him today. Ryan Pearson was hobbled with foul trouble and mostly shut out by the Villanova's front court. Mike Morrison and reserve Johnny Williams made key contributions down the stretch in Pearson's absence. 

Luke Hancock was really the MVP today. In the first half he was getting beat on defense and yielded a couple of open look three-pointers from Coreys but he turned things around in the second half.  He was able to get to the foul line when the Patriots needed a basket and help swing the momentum in their direction in the 2nd half.   

Villanova's two Coreys dominated the first half but Mason held them mostly scoreless for the beginning of the second half and used that to inch closer into the Wildcats' lead. There was sloppy passes and ill-advised shots but Mason eventually mounted a run late. The Patriots closed the game on a 13-3 tear but the more impressive part of the ending was the stout defense that came alive in the closing seconds.  For most of the game we didn't see that defense that got Mason to where they are now.  

Here is the last stretch where Mason took control:

Here is an interesting statistic from ESPN after the game: "Four of the last six teams to defeat Villanova in the NCAA tournament have gone on to win the championship".

Post game interviews. Coach L when asked how his team came back today: "I have no idea."

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Anonymous Matt said...

So money. Wow.

4:55 PM  
Anonymous Agilb884 said...

close call but you gotta love the end result! Tough, resilient team. Going to need every bit of that against Ohio St.

4:58 PM  
Anonymous Travis Valentine said...

Nice pics of Morrison. Where'd you get them?

4:59 PM  
Anonymous Agilb884 said...

Also, loved coach L's answer when asked how his team came back: "I don't know". You gotta love that guy.

5:00 PM  
Anonymous Rmjank said...

It's a half hour later, and my pulse is still racing! Awesome game against a tough opponent who wanted it just as bad. Thus the hard defense and "sloppy" look on both sides of the ball. Way to hang in there, guys!!!!!

5:05 PM  
Anonymous old fan said...

What an incredible finish. I'm glad my heart held out. And yes, Coach L's remark will be long remembered.

5:10 PM  
Anonymous Mason guy said...

Team victory, Mike Mo and Luke were huge. Nobody quit. Cam had a tough game but hung in there. Pearson's shots in the end were great. Good feeling about the next game, going to see much better shooting from behind the arc. Enjoy the moment. Enjoy wearing green jerseys.

5:22 PM  
Anonymous Happy Holly said...

Freakin' Amazing Win today! Long time fan and member of the guys make me proud to live in Fairfax, VA........wearing my 2006 Final Four T-shirt with pride right now, let's do it again in 2011. Congrats Team & Coach L, you guys rock!

5:28 PM  
Anonymous Ross_williams1 said...

Now that the first game jitters are over I think that we will start seeing much better 3 point shooting. We will need it. Unlike 2006, the number 1 seed will take us very seriously.

6:09 PM  
Anonymous Casey Knudsen said...

That was definately a stressful game to watch! How about big Johnny, what a game he had! Glad to see Mason continues to have weapons coming from all over from game to game. However, the concerning thing that came out of this game was Cam! There is no way we can win this tournament if our best player is losing the ball about 80% of the time he dribbles. He needs to focus on what he's doing, it's almost as if he's thinking about his next move rather then worrying about what he's doing at that second. But Morrison and Johnny had HUGE games, and I kept saying that we needed Luke to step it up in the tournament if we're going to win as he hasn't had a big game for a while, and boy did he ever step it up! Just wait until A.C. and Vaughn hit a couple threes, I can see Mason winning another game or two. After all, George Mason is the next George Mason! Let's get it!

6:20 PM  
Anonymous gmuhoops said...

More pics here:

6:59 PM  
Anonymous Brentrg said...

YEA BABY!!!! What a great game. We were down the whole game, but Hancock's "crafty" moves in the lane were the difference. Tate's 3 and then Hancock's 3 were huge. Our defense was tough all game, they were just nailing 3's early on. How many times did Villanova struggle to get a shot off before the shot clock expired? Johnny showed he still has much promise and will be a force next year. How emotional the last few minutes were. I was jumping all over the house! This is what MASON bball is all about. No matter what happens from here on out, it was an amazing season. We are playing with house money now. Let's put together a full game and shock the nation.

7:18 PM  
Anonymous overrated14 said...

Come on, Nothing is more irritating than when so-called fans point the finger at individual players. Would you please just accept the win. Cam has lead this team to the winnnigest season in GMU history and the longest winning streak in the nation. I seriously doubt Mason would even be in the Big Dance without him. It isn't what shows up on the stat sheet(points, turnovers, assists, etc) that measures a very good leader. It is his ability to stay calm under pressure, make the correct decisions, do the other things to help his team win(defend, rebound, assist) be PRESENT, and be able to transfer that resolve to his teammates. Cam's presence is immeasurable. This was truly a team effort and win despite any missteps that may have occured by Cam. By the way, if you want to measure something, measure the minutes he played-35! That speaks Volumes. Go Mason!!!

7:26 PM  
Anonymous Donesha said...

SO proud to be Mason Alum! CONGRATS to the team, see ya Sunday!

7:26 PM  
Anonymous Jphubba said...

A surprising win in many ways. The worst GMU has played since November. The refs were atrocious. If you told me they were all Corey Fisher's uncles I would believe you. Villanova got away with all sorts of rough stuff, especially in the first half. The foul call on Tate at the end of the game was more than a little of a stretch. Doubt that GMU would have gotten the same call were the situation reversed.

Villanova's strategy was a little odd. When you're the more athletic team, why slow the game down? And their execution in the last five minutes was terrible. If they had a heady guard, the result would have been different.

Nonetheless GMU followed the same script they have used over the last month. Lull the opposition to sleep with a crappy first half and then grind out a win in the second. Hancock played really smart. Morrison and Williams kept their poise and battled with the big guys. Coach deserves a lot of credit for putting Morrison and Williams on the floor at the same time -- a lineup I don't think we have seen this year. The rest of the crew kept scrapping.

7:46 PM  
Anonymous Scottranda said...

Can't wait to play the number 1 team in the country The Ohio State on Sunday. Incredible finish for GMU!

7:53 PM  
Anonymous Mooky_l3d said...

there are also some nice pics on yahoo in the recap of the game

8:24 PM  
Anonymous Mooky_l3d said...

Wish I could have seen it all live. I was following the score online. My job blocks all live looks. Anyway just an impressive game. I keep telling my coworkers that it wasn't going to be a comeback because we been here for years!!! Love watching the replays. I don't think they will ever get old.

8:26 PM  
Anonymous Reggie said...

Mike Mo had more passion than the entire Villanova squad. So proud of him and how he's come along. Huge minutes from J Dub that spelled RP and then L puts him back in wtih 4 fouls and he picks up a huge old skool 3.

Going to need a lot more J Dub against these Ohio monsters. Gonna be fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

8:30 PM  
Anonymous Casey Knudsen said...

I am usually the first one to defend the individual players when someone gets down on them, and I never doubted Cam's leadership ability. However it is easy to see that he does need to calm down a little and not try to run the show himself on the court in terms of dribbling the ball too much. Look what happened last year when he was put in the position of doing too much by himself and trying to create plays for himself, much like he has tried to do in this post season against VCU and Villanova. If you compare these two games and last season to the rest of this season in terms of Cam's play, you can see that he excelled this season because he was not trying to run the show and let his team mates find him. He plays much better when he can find the open spot and catch and shoot. Either way, he is definately the leader of the team, there is no denying that, and the team needs him to control his turn overs on the court. Can't wait for Sunday!

8:42 PM  
Anonymous calidreamin said...

Well said!! I taught Cam in high school for two years, and the qualities you mentioned are dead on. Even at age 17, he had a presence of mind and determination to stay focused/calm no matter what that absolutely influences those around him. Sometimes it's the intangibles that count more than the obvious stats. I'm very proud to see the leader he's developed into, and I'm immensely proud of this entire Mason team!!! I have many current trash-talking students who keep giving me a hard time about Mason, saying they had no chance of winning today, etc. I can't wait to see them on Monday and say GMU WHAT??!!! Go Patriots!!!!

8:51 PM  
Anonymous Jen said...

Gooo Mason!! Watched the game at work with my heart in my throat the entire time. The comeback was amazing!!! First half was painful but they hung tough and came back for the win. I thought I was the only Mason fan in my office watching on my computer until Mike made that final dunk. Everyone was yelling and high-fiving :) If we can play on Sunday like we did those last few minutes today, Ohio St. better watch out! Can't wait for that exciting game! Love this blog - thanks for the recap of the final minutes :)

9:11 PM  
Anonymous Airgold10 said...

Game was absolutely epic. My bandwidth wasn't fast enough to stream MMOD in India, but just listening to the audio stream had my pulse racing.

Have they released the spread yet against Ohio State?

10:47 PM  
Anonymous Kdenton1 said...

Winning, duh.

11:46 PM  
Anonymous BATmason said...

HC's obviosly the clutch man, but you gotta give it up to Mike Mo for redeeming his turnovers taking those charges. I know it's tough for bigs, but if he refines his touch from the charity stripe and his TO %, he'll be a huge asset next season.

1:47 AM  
Anonymous Reggie said...

Quit your job.

7:01 AM  
Anonymous World of Basketball said...

Congrats for win guys. Great game, I really enjoyed. All the best in coming games.

11:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That dagger-in-the-heart dunk by Morrison in the last second will always be in my top 10 Mason plays of all time!

2:46 PM  
Anonymous Gio said...

I just had a lot of fun reading the comments made by the Nova fans on their blogs. Most of them gave us little to no chance and said their team would wipe the floor with ours. Well I hope they enjoyed their humble pie. Suckers!!

2:22 PM  

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