NCAA

George Mason rallies late but falls to Rhode Island, 77-74

George Mason rallies late but falls to Rhode Island, 77-74

BY TYLER BYRUM

FAIRFAX, VA – Coming down the final seconds of the game, Rhode Island was able to hold off a resilient George Mason squad after blowing an 18-point lead in the second half to win, 77-74.

Stanford Robinson scored a team-high 21 points off the bench in a homecoming affair for the Paul VI Catholic High School graduate. From behind the arc, Robinson was a perfect 3-for-3 and brought down two huge offensive rebounds late in the contest.

In the final minute though, it was Robinson who gave the Patriots hope as he missed two free throws with less than two seconds left in the game.

Grabbing his fifth rebound of the contest to go along with 22 points, Jalen Jenkins threw up a full-court heave that was just a foot wide of the basket. 

From the onset, Rhode Island (17-9, 9-5) had the size advantage but was going against the NCAA’s best rebounding guard, Marquise Moore. Bringing down 31 rebounds, 14 being offensive, the Rams scored 13 pivotal second chance points. Moore, though, would manage to record his 17th double-double of the season (19 points, 10 rebounds). 

This was Moore's fourth straight double-double, which is helping his case as one of the favorites for the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. 

E.C. Matthews was another one of the Rams to rack up the points in EagleBank Arena. With 18 points on 15 shots, Matthews kept the Rams alive after the team allowed the Patriots to go on a 21-3 run.

The Rams consistently shot over the Patriots with five players recording a three-point basket. In the first half, the team shot 54 percent from behind the arc and had rolled to a 39-26 lead at the break.

George Mason (18-9, 8-6) was able to climb back after an insurmountable 18-point deficit minutes into the second half. Highlighting the scoring run, Otis Livingston II (nine points and seven rebounds) was able to hit a fadaway to bring Mason within four and the crowd to their feet.

Throughout the contest, the Patriots drew 23 fouls and made 31 of their 36 free throw attempts. This kept numerous Rams in foul trouble and forced Dan Hurley to go deep into his bench and use 11 players.

“That was one that we needed desperately,” Hurley said “We’ve done a lot of soul searching; we’ve also dealt with a lot this year.”

The victory gives Rhode Island a much-needed win after falling to Fordham 53-43 earlier in the week. Moving up to third place in the Atlantic 10, the Rams now use the momentum from this game in order to climb back in the NCAA tournament bubble.

Falling in this game, George Mason now is on the outside looking in for one of the conference’s coveted double-byes in the conference tournament.

Jalen Smith's career night propels No. 17 Terps past Northwestern

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Jalen Smith's career night propels No. 17 Terps past Northwestern

Jalen Smith scored a career-high 25 points, and No. 17 Maryland rallied to beat Northwestern 77-66 on Tuesday night.

The Terrapins trailed by as much as 15 in the first half and were down 10 in the second when they went on a 15-2 run.

Back-to-back 3-pointers by Aaron Wiggins and Anthony Cowan Jr. gave Maryland (15-4, 5-3 Big Ten) its first lead of the game at 56-55 with 9:10 remaining before Smith punctuated it with a hard dunk. Smith also hit a huge 3 with just under two minutes left to make it 72-63, lifting the Terrapins to their second straight win after back-to-back losses.

Smith, a sophomore, surpassed his previous high of 21 points against Minnesota last season. Wiggins scored 17. And Maryland came away with the win after dropping four straight away from home despite shooting just 35%.

Pat Spencer led Northwestern (6-12, 1-7) with 17 points. Miller Kopp scored 16. But the Wildcats lost for the eighth time in nine games.

Northwestern came into the game ranked 13th in the Big Ten in scoring, but took a 40-26 lead to the locker room after a blistering first half.

Kopp scored 11 and Nance added nine points. Northwestern shot 15 of 25 overall, made 4 of 6 3's and clamped down on Maryland. Cowan and Jalen Smith each scored just four points, and the Terrapins shot just 6 of 25 overall and 5 of 17 from beyond the arc.

Northwestern led 36-21 after a floater by A.J. Turner and had a 14-point lead at the half.

BIG PICTURE

Maryland: Though the Terrapins struggled in the early going, they steadied themselves down the stretch. They also seem to be getting their footing back, beating Purdue and Northwestern after getting pounded at Iowa and losing by two at Wisconsin.

Northwestern: The Wildcats built the big lead early on, only to drop another tight game after losing by four at Illinois on Saturday.

UP NEXT

Maryland: The Terrapins will try to make it a two-game sweep when they visit Indiana on Sunday. Maryland beat the Hoosiers 75-59 on Jan. 4.

Northwestern: The Wildcats will try to stop their skid when they host Ohio State on Sunday.

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Wolfpack overcomes 10-minute scoring drought to top Virginia

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Wolfpack overcomes 10-minute scoring drought to top Virginia

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- North Carolina State took a page from the book Virginia used to win a national championship last season and used it against the Cavaliers.

The Wolfpack overcame a second-half drought of more than 10 minutes on Monday night and recovered just in time for a 53-51 victory over the Cavaliers.

D.J. Funderburk scored 14 points before fouling out and C.J. Bryce added 13 points for N.C. State (14-5, 5-3 Atlantic Coast Conference), including a jumper with 27 seconds left after allowing the shot clock to race to near 0:00. The victory ended an eight-game losing streak against the Cavaliers.

"This is the second game in a row where I thought our guys stepped up and won the game on the defensive end," Wolfpack coach Kevin Keatts said.

It took plenty of patience, Bryce and fellow guard Markell Johnson said.

"We were stuck at 42 for the longest time," Johnson said of the drought that lasted from a basket with 13:51 left until Jericole Hellems' 3-pointer with 3:38 left. "I just tried to do whatever I could to get the lead and then C.J. hit a great shot and took it from there."

Johnson and Bryce each played nearly 38 minutes.

"We did a really good job of keeping our composure and staying patient and it worked out for us." Bryce said.

Virginia (12-6, 4-4) had used a 15-0 run during the N.C. State drought that lasted 10:13 to take a 46-42 lead, bringing the crowd at John Paul Jones Arena back into the game. Hellems' 3-pointer ended N.C. State' skid, and, after a free throw by Mamadi Diakite for Virginia, Johnson hit a 3-pointer and then Hellems followed two Virginia misses with a putback that gave the Wolfpack a 50-47 lead.

Johnson and Bryce both missed the front end of one-and-one free throw opportunities, and Kihei Clark hit a pair for Virginia. Braxton Beverly made the first and missed the second for the Wolfpack with 7.2 seconds left, and the Cavaliers Casey Morsell was short on a contested 3 at the buzzer.

"They made a couple plays,. That's what you have to do down the stretch to win," Virginia coach Tony Bennett said after his team's third home loss of the season, which is more than the two they had the last two seasons combined.

Clark led Virginia with 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

The Wolfpack had used an 8-0 run to go ahead 42-31. Virginia helped out by going scoreless for more than 6 1/2 minutes. Francisco Caffaro, who had just been inserted into the game, ended the drought with 11:13 left, sparking Virginia's run.

BIG PICTURE

N.C. State: The Wolfpack seemed on their way to a solid victory until the drought, during which they were 1 for 8 from the field with five turnovers and repeatedly let the shot clock run down into single digits, forcing bad shots. ... NC State also played without 6-foot-11 ACC shot-blocking leader Manny Bates (2.94), who is in the concussion protocol, and forward Pat Andree (ankle). Keatts said he didn't know is Bates will be available come Saturday.

Virginia: In the Cavaliers' continuing search for scoring help, freshman Casey Morsell had as many as three field goals for the first time since a 65-56 victory against Navy on Dec. 29. He was 4 for 20 from the field in his last five games. He finished the night 4 for 9 and his buzzer-beater attempt was closely guarded. Morsell said he was trying to get the ball to Clark but when he couldn't find him quickly, "time was ticking so I had to let it go."

UP NEXT

The Wolfpack remains on the road and plays at Georgia Tech on Saturday.

The Cavaliers go on the road and play at Wake Forest on Sunday.

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