BY NATALIE HEAVREN, SPORTS EDITOR
Mason improved to 9-3 in conference play and 15-10 overall Wednesday after defeating the University of Massachusetts in overtime 80-75.
After the game, head coach Dave Paulsen said, “I thought that was a heck of a win for our guys. To be down four with 57 seconds to go, get two lay-ups, not panic and get a stop took a lot of resolve.”
Here are three takeaways from the game.
- Free throws can be the difference.
After making only six of their 13 free throw attempts in the first half, the team went 21-24 in both the second half and in overtime. Mason had success getting to the line, shooting 36 free throws in the game while letting UMass shoot only 16 free throws.
Making free throws down the stretch in the second half and overtime was the difference for the Patriots on a night when the Minutemen made 10 three-pointers.
2. No one has to do everything.
Mason made just nine field goals in the first half. While seven Patriots scored, Javon Greene was the only Patriot who made more than one field goal. Greene finished the night 5-6 from the floor and 5-5 from the free throw line, finishing the game with 17 points.
However, it was not just Greene making plays in the last 25 minutes of the game. Otis Livingston II had 13 points in the second half while Justin Kier had nine. Kier and Jordan Miller made two layups in the last minute of the game to tie it up at 60 and send the game into overtime.
Greene hit the three-pointer to put Mason up for good but Jarred Reuter, Miller, Kier and Livingston all scored before the end of overtime.
After the game, Livingston said, “We have a lot of talent on, it’s not just one guy that can make shots down the stretch. We all have trust in each other with the ball.”
3. Wins don’t need to be pretty
“It wasn’t a masterpiece by our guys, but we really showed toughness and we really showed grit tonight,” Paulsen said.
Despite shooting 34.6 percent from the floor in the first half and 6-13 from the free throw line, the Patriots went into halftime tied at 26.
After going up five with six and a half minutes left, Mason found themselves down four with 1:07 left in regulation. Being able to find a way to grind out a win will be important as the regular season comes to a close.
Mason returns home on Feb. 23 to take on Duquesne University.