There probably will be a cinderella team during this year’s NCAA Tournament, but it won’t be George Mason this time:
RICHMOND, March 5 — George Mason’s improbable run through the Colonial Athletic Association tournament came to a devastating end Monday night when, after leading by five points with about two minutes remaining in the championship game, the Patriots were overwhelmed by the pressure of both the moment and Virginia Commonwealth’s defense.
The top-seeded Rams scored 11 consecutive points, nine by sophomore point guard Eric Maynor, and dashed to a 65-59 victory before a delirious sellout crowd of 11,200 at Richmond Coliseum.
The No. 6 Patriots — who had lost to VCU by 13 and 14 points during the regular season — were seeking to become the lowest seed to claim the title since East Carolina, a No. 7 seed, won 14 years ago. They had upset No. 3 Hofstra and No. 2 Old Dominion the previous two nights, but fell short in excruciating fashion against the CAA’s best team.
George Mason (18-15) had a 57-52 lead and possession with two minutes remaining, when it all fell apart in a flurry of steals by Maynor, misses by the Patriots and free throws by the Rams (27-6).