Wake Forest Squeaks by Patriots in Overtime Win

Posted: November 15, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Men's basketball vs. Wake Forest
Mason’s Sammy Hernandez blocks the shot of All-ACC center Eric Williams in the second half of Friday’s game.

Early in the second half of Friday night’s game at Winston-Salem, N.C., things looked pretty bad for the George Mason Patriots. Mason was shooting just .355 from the field against Wake Forest University and trailed the nation’s 18th-ranked team by 19 on its home floor. But that’s when things turned around completely.

Shots started falling, the defense forced turnovers and the Patriots played with more than enough confidence to put the Demon Deacons on their heels. Unfortunately for Mason, the one thing that didn’t wither for Wake Forest was its free-throw shooting. Wake Forest made 10 of 13 free throws in overtime, to down the Patriots 83-78 at the 2K Sports College Hoops Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer.

The Patriots were looking for their first-ever win over a ranked opponent and with 2:50 to play, they were in position to pull off what some would have called the biggest win in school history. Lamar Butler’s jumper gave Mason a 69-68 lead, capping a 38-18 run.

That lead lasted less than 20 seconds, though, as Chris Ellis hit a 3-pointer to give the lead back to Wake. The only scoring over the final 2:31 was a pair of free throws by Mason’s Jai Lewis that forced the overtime period.

Mason had chances and stayed close until the final minute when the Demon Deacons began to sink their free throws, going 6 of 6 from the line in the final 22.2 seconds.

Mason was hampered by both injuries and fouls. Gabe Norwood left midway through the second half with a sprained ankle. Jesus Urbina did not make the trip because he’s still recovering from injury. Will Thomas and Folarin Campbell each fouled out, while Lewis and Skinn each were limited with four fouls.

Skinn finished with a game-high 23 points and made 7 of 8 free throws. Lewis had 16 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Butler added 18 while Thomas had 12 points. Campbell had seven assists but was just 1 of 9 shooting from the field.

The Patriots opened their season last Thursday, and they were already in mid-season form, as Mason dominated the University of California, Irvine from start to finish. They downed the Anteaters, 79-56 at the first game of the Classic.

The Patriots (1-1) are off until Nov. 22 when they open at home against Creighton.

Write to at