Dec. 22, 2008
Fairfax, Va. - Freshman Kendall Timmons led all scorers with a career-best 18 points, but George Mason outscored Tulane 18-10 during the final eight minutes to pull out a 60-52 victory in front of 4,508 at the Patriot Center.
Tulane (5-5) trailed George Mason (8-2) by as many as 12 points in the second half, but scraped back using an 18-6 run over a period of 9:19 and junior Eric Vianney knotted the game at 42 apiece with a three-pointer from the left side with 8:02 remaining.
George Mason immediately responded with four straight points before senior Kevin Sims pulled the Green Wave to within two points on lay-up. But the Patriots proved to be too much for Tulane down the stretch by converting 12-of-16 free throw attempts despite hitting just one field goal the final 6:24.
TU got as close as five points during the final minutes but missed several key shots to get back into the game and was forced to foul.
The Green Wave was whistled for 23 fouls, while host George Mason was called for just 11 fouls and the Patriots nailed 23-of-31 free throw attempts, while TU managed just nine trips to the foul line and converted five opportunities. In fact, the Patriots attempted more free throws than Tulane's total number of field goals (22) for the game,
"I am really pleased with our effort in tonight's game," Tulane head coach Dave Dickerson said. "We did what you are supposed to do on the road, which is to give yourself a chance to win the game. We were down by 12 points and tied the score up and gave ourselves a chance to win, but tonight just wasn't our night. They had more made free throws than we had field goals made, which was a big discrepancy in the game, but I didn't think we were aggressive enough at taking the ball to the basket when we needed to.
"Kendall Timmons really played well with 18 points in 24 minutes, but whenever your two seniors (Daniel Puckett, Robinson Louisme) and your best player (Kevin Sims) have a rough night from the field, it's going to be tough to win games. Those guys are the backbone of the team and we need them to be productive night in and night out. My hat's off to George Mason. We held them to 34 percent from the field, but they made all the plays to win. I thought our guys did a good job with just one day of preparation and a bad travel day."
The Wave did manage to shoot better than Mason, hitting 36.1 percent compared t to 34.6 percent for the home team, but was out-rebounded, 43-37, and in the end the free-throw line proved to be the difference in the first-ever meeting between the teams.
Timmons was the lone player to reach double figures for Tulane, while senior Daniel Puckett paced the Wave with eight rebounds. The George Mason defense held Sims, the team's leading scorer with 13.4 points per contest coming into tonight's game, to seven points and senior Robinson Louisme, TU's second leading scorer with better than 11 points per outing, scoreless.
John Vaughan led three Patriots into double figure scoring with 16 points, while Darryl Monroe chipped in 13 points and Ryan Pearson contributed 12 points and a game-high 13 rebounds for the double-double.
Tulane battled George Mason toe-to-toe in a first half that featured seven lead changes and seven ties. Timmons kept TU close, hitting 5-of-7 field goal attempts for 10 points. The Green Wave got off to promising start and led 15-14 on a three-pointer from the right side by Vianney.
Following a timeout, the Patriots tied the game on a free throw by Pearson. But Tulane's shooting cooled off and the Wave scored just four points over the next four minutes and allowed Mason to build a six-point advantage. Timmons once again found the scoring column with a short jumper that pulled Tulane to within four points with 2:19 remaining in the first half.
However, two TU turnovers in the final minutes enabled the Patriots to build an eight-point halftime lead. Monroe nailed a short jumper following a David Booker miscue and Andre Cornelius took advantage of a Puckett turnover when he was fouled on a made lay-up by Kris Richard with 0:49 remaining in the period. Cornelius missed the ensuing free throw for the conventional three-point play and Tulane trailed, 29-21, at intermission.