Controversial late-game call gives George Mason another close win over Massachusetts

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Controversial late-game call gives George Mason another close win over Massachusetts

WASHINGTON D.C. – George Mason has a knack winning close games. Buzzer beaters, late game heroics, and overtime has been a theme for the Patriots in Atlantic-10 play this season.

However, this time against Massachusetts in the A-10 Tournament, it did not come down to one final shot.

The shot never got off.

Down three with four seconds on the clock, UMass’ Luwane Pipkins looked to quickly race the ball up the court for the potential game-tying shot.

As he crossed the halfcourt line, Mason’s Javon Greene collapsed on him with a potential screen ahead.

On the edge of the sideline, Pipkins extended his arm against Greene and then got called for a push-off foul.

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A foul yes, but barely any contact.

"It is was it is. It wasn't frusting at all," Pipkins said.

"The ref made the call. The game's over."

He handled it better than anyone associated with UMass in all of Capital One Arena. 

Massachusetts head coach Matt McCall was irate, probably should have been called for a technical, but rightfully so. Without the ball even making it past the time line, UMass had already lost.

Sophomore Pipkins was the guy to take the shot. He was already up to 31 points on the night with five three-pointers and perfect from the line (9-9). In the first half, he scored eight straight points to give them a 28-14 lead.

However, one cannot say the botched call is the sole reason the Minutemen lost. They were once up 14 points in the first half, allowed George Mason to get 20 offensive rebounds, and sent Mason’s best free throw shooter to the line 14 times. Either way if you are the official, you have to swallow the whistle in that situation.

George Mason (16-16, 9-9 Atlantic 10) escaped with the 80-75 victory after leading for only five minutes in the game.

Otis Livingston II had an off-shooting night (3-11 from the field) but managed to clean it up by going to the free throw line a perfect 14-for-14. He led the Patriots with 21 points as three other players reached double figures.

The Minutemen (13-20, 5-13) shot 53 percent from the field and 56 percent from the behind the arc, but kept giving up offensive board after offensive board. They were behind 26-6 in second chance points.

Advancing to the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 Tournament, the No. 5 seed George Mason will now play No. 4 Saint Joseph’s for the third time in 2018. The first two times ended off George Mason buzzer beaters.

Atlantic 10 Tournament Bracket 2018, How to watch, Dates, Preview, Location

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Atlantic 10 Tournament Bracket 2018, How to watch, Dates, Preview, Location

Once the crème de la crop of mid-major basketball, the Atlantic 10 is far and removed from its days where six teams made the NCAA Tournament in 2014.

This season, the A-10 has been flirting with one or two teams making the big dance and quite honestly nothing is set in stone until the nets come down in the 2018 A10 Tournament.

The best-case scenario for the Atlantic 10 is Rhode Island, St. Bonaventure, and Davidson to all make the semi-finals of their tournament. Then the Wildcats go on to win. Here, there is a possibility that three A-10 teams make the NCAAs.

Everyone else has to win to make the dance. In what is a horrific year for the conference, there might not even be a team in the NIT if Davidson wins it all. Curren, ly there are eight teams at .500 or below in the A-10.

Heading into this tournament, only Rhode Island can afford the upset, but they are likely the favorites to spoil the Bonnies and Wildcats March dreams.

Still, there are big names, big match-ups, and big storylines for those with interest in the A-10. The Atlantic 10 Tournament playing for the first time in Capital One Arena, will be one that will be more than worth the price of admission.

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A10 TOURNAMENT 2018 INFORMATION:

When is the 2018 A10 Tournament?

The A10 Tournament is March 7-11. The A10 Championship game is on Sunday, March 11 at 1:00 pm.

Where is the 2018 A10 Tournament?
The 2018 A10 Tournament is hosted at Capital One Arena in Washington D.C.

How to watch the 2018 A10 Tournament?

The A10 Tournament will be televised on Stadium, NBCSN, CBSN, and CBS. Stadium will cover the television and streaming duties for the First Round. Coverage then switches to NBCSN for the Second Round and the Quarterfinals. CBSN picks up the tournament at the semifinals and then hands it off to CBS for the championship.

Who is the defending 2017 A10 Champion?

Rhode Island was the 2017 A10 Champion after receiving the No. 4 seed in an up-and-down season. The victory boosted the Rams into the NCAA Tournament with the automatic bid.  

A10 TOURNAMENT 2018 BRACKET:

A10 Tournament First Round (3/7)

 - No. 13 Massachusetts 69, No. 12 La Salle 67               
 - No. 11 George Washington 78, No. 14 Fordham 72

A10 Tournament Second Round (3/8)

 - No. 8 VCU 77, No. 9 Dayton 72                               
 - No. 5 George Mason 80, No. 13 Massachusetts 75
 - No. 7 Richmond 81, No. 10 Duquesne 68
 - No. 6 Saint Louis 70, No. 11 George Washington 63

A10 Tournament Quarterfinals (3/9)

 - No. 1 Rhode Island 76, No. 8 VCU 67                     
 - No. 4 Saint Joesph’s 68, No.5 George Mason 49
 - No. 2 St. Bonaventure 83, No.7 Richmond 77
 - No. 3 Davidson 78, No. 6 Saint Louis 60

A10 Tournament Semifinals (3/10)

 -No. 1 Rhode Island 90, No. 4 Saint Joseph's 87
 - 3:30 PM - No. 2 St. Bonaventure vs. No. 3 Davidson (CBSN)

A10 Tournament Championship (3/11)

 - 1:00 PM - No. 1 Rhode Island vs. TBD (CBS)

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A10 TOURNAMENT 2018 PREVIEW:

Throughout non-conference and conference play, Rhode Island has been the class of the Atlantic 10. The team went for nearly a two-month stretch where they did not lose a game and were solidly in the AP Top 25.

That was about three weeks ago, when Jared Terrell, E.C. Matthews, and Jeff Dowtin were raging through the A10. Since they have lost three of their last five and back-to-back to end the season.

That leaves St. Bonaventure, with the Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley duo, and the three-point arsenal of Davidson as the remaining two contenders.

The Bonnies ended the year on a 12-game winning streak, a program high. That included wins over Rhode Island, Davidson, St. Joe’s and George Mason (the other top five seeds). Once a bubble team, they are now on the good side according to Joe Lunardi and several other bracketologists. Still, a conference championship will remove all ambiguity and even bump them up a seed line or two. 

Davidson is so dangerous, 1. because they just knocked off Rhode Island and 2. because they average more than 10 three-pointers a game. Payton Aldridge (21.3 ppg) has fully stepped up his play to produce as much as Jack Gibbs from years past. He can fully take on the responsibility as a go-to player to leave all of his teammates open at every spot on the court.

Teams though that you cannot overlook in this tournament include both No.8 VCU and No. 9 Dayton. No. 7 Richmond is also a dangerous team that no one wants to face in this tournament.

PICK: No. 2 St. Bonaventure

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Livingston, George Mason holds off George Washington

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Livingston, George Mason holds off George Washington

FAIRFAX, Va.  -- Otis Livingston II scored 14 points, Jaire Grayer added 12 points and 12 rebounds and George Mason held off George Washington for a 72-65 victory on Saturday.

George Mason (11-14, 5-7 Atlantic 10 Conference) has won two of its last three games. George Washington (10-15, 3-9) has lost five of its last six, and is now 0-8 on the road.

Livingston was 4 of 7 from the floor and matched a career-high with nine assists. Grayer, who had three straight double-doubles before a foot sprain limited his play in George Mason's last three games, collected his sixth double-double. Justin Kier added 13 points and AJ Wilson had 11 for the Patriots.

Yuta Watanabe had 19 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Colonials. Jair Bolden added 11 points and five assists.

The Patriots had a 14-point lead with 3:16 to play. Watanabe scored nine points during a 17-7 surge that pulled the Colonials to 68-64 with 18 seconds remaining. Livingston shot 4 of 4 from the line to seal it.