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Courtesy: CAA/Scott K. Brown

Allen's Layup Lifts Mason Past GSU, 61-59

Courtesy: CAA
          Release: 03/03/2012
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RICHMOND, Va. - Sophomore guard Bryon Allen connected on a reverse layup with 3.4 seconds left to push third-seeded George Mason past sixth-seeded Georgia State, 61-59, in front of a sellout crowd of 11,200 Saturday evening in the quarterfinals of the 2012 Virginia 529 College Savings Plan CAA Men's Basketball Championship

George Mason (24-8) advances to the semifinal round for the sixth time in the past seven years and 15th time overall. The Patriots will meet second-seeded VCU Sunday at 4:30 p.m. The teams, which split a pair of regular season meetings this year, will meet in the tournament for the fourth consecutive year.

After leading by five at halftime, Georgia State (21-11) founds itself down, 59-55 with just 2:45 remaining in the game after George Mason senior guard Andre Cornelius hit a three-pointer as the shot clock expired. The Panthers quickly erased their four-point deficit though as sophomore guard Devonta White hit a pair of free throws with just over a minute to go and senior guard James Fields swiped a steal and converted the fastbreak layup to tie the game at 59 with 38 seconds remaining.

With just three seconds separating the game clock and shot clock, Allen patiently waited and attacked the rim with less than eight seconds on the clock. The sophomore drove from right to left and went underneath the basket before converting the challenged reverse layup to put the Patriots ahead for good.

After a pair of Georgia State timeouts, Panther senior Josh Micheaux received the inbounds pass, drove through a pair of George Mason defenders and heaved a 35-footer that missed the rim as the clock expired.

Senior forward Mike Morrison led the Patriots with 12 points and seven rebounds while sophomore guard Sherrod Wright came off the bench to score 10 in the victory.

Georgia State was led by Fields' 15 points and six rebounds. Sophomore guard Rashaad Richardson joined Fields in double figures with 10 points on 3-for-5 shooting.

George Mason led early, 9-7, after an Erik Copes layup at the 14:03 mark of the opening half. Georgia State controlled play over the next five minutes though and used a 15-2 run to grab a 22-11 lead midway through the period. Five different Panthers scored during the spurt, led by five points from Richardson.

Trailing 26-17 with just over five minutes remaining in the first stanza, Mason scored six straight points to pull to within three and the Patriots would go into the intermission down five, 30-25.

George Mason slowly chipped away at the Panther lead early in the second half and a Vertrail Vaughns layup at the 9:04 mark put the Patriots up for the first time since it was 9-7 in the first half.

Mason extended its lead to 52-46 after a Wright dunk capped a 12-3 Patriot run. Georgia State would cut the George Mason lead to 56-55 with 3:19 remaining before Cornelius' three-pointer jump started the thrilling finish.

The Patriots held a 42-24 advantage in points in the paint and a 39-33 rebounding edge. The Panthers attempted 30 free throws, but were only able to connect on 17 to shoot 56.7 percent from the charity stripe. George Mason was forced into 14 turnovers, but the Patriots dished out 13 assists including a game-high five from CAA Player of the Year Ryan Pearson. The Patriot senior had just four points on 2-for-7 shooting and fouled out late in the second half.