Patriots Take It to the Rim: Final Four Bound!

Posted: March 26, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

George Mason stunned the no. 1 seed University of Connecticut, 86-84, in a thrilling overtime NCAA Tournament game on Sunday at the Verizon Center. The Patriots are the first no. 11 seed to reach the Final Four since 1986. The next game is 6:07 p.m. on April 1 in Indianapolis, where Mason will face the University of Florida Gators.

Mason is also the first Colonial Athletic Association team in history to go to the Final Four.

The Patriots were down as much as 12 points in the first half. But they finished the half down by 9 at 43-34 and took the court for the second half with renewed momentum. In the second half they tied, then went ahead. Toward the end of regulation, the score kept seesawing between the two teams, and they were tied at the buzzer.

Mason hit six straight three-pointers in the second half, shot 5-for-6 in overtime and outrebounded the Huskies 37-34. Without a measuring stick, you couldn’t tell that Mason was dwarfed in size or reputation.

Jai Lewis finished the game with 20 points, Will Thomas had 19, and Lamar Butler had 19. Folarin Campbell was next with 15, and Tony Skinn had 10. Off the bench, Sammy Hernandez contributed another 3 points. Butler was named the most outstanding player of the game. Rudy Gay of the Huskies, an old nemesis of Thomas’ from high school basketball match-ups, was the top scorer for UConn with 20 points.

Click here for the GoMason photo gallery.

Elite Eight celebration
Members of the Patriots basketball team and coaching staff storm the court after Sunday’s thrilling victory over the University of Connecticut.
Mason Athletics photo

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