George Mason 63, Mississippi St. 59
FAIRFAX, Va. (AP)—Will Thomas had 22 points and 9 rebounds and George Mason ended Mississippi State’s seven-game winning streak with a 62-59 victory Saturday.
Thomas, who battled a plethora of Bulldog shot blockers all day, hit two foul shots with 1:01 to go that put the Patriots ahead for good.
Folarin Campbell added 13 points and hit 3 of 4 foul shots in the final 16 seconds to preserve the win. Dre Smith chipped in with 11 points for George Mason (6-5).
Charles Rhodes led Mississippi State (9-3) with 14 points and Barry Stewart scored 11 second-half points, including two 3-pointers that kept the Bulldogs close throughout the half.
Trailing 62-59 in the final seconds, Mississippi State had a chance to tie it. But Jamont Gordon turned the ball over to set up Campbell’s clinching foul shot with 4.7 seconds remaining.
Stewart connected on three consecutive foul shots to pull Mississippi State to 58-57 with 2:45 remaining. Rhodes then followed with an inside bucket with 1:22 remaining to give the Bulldogs a 59-58 lead.
George Mason closed the first half on a 19-10 run for a 28-26 halftime lead. Thomas led the spurt with six points as the Patriots erased an early seven-point deficit.
Coming off a school-record 15-block performance against New Orleans, the Bulldogs again controlled the paint with nine blocks, including seven in the first half. Mississippi State is ranked sixth in the nation in blocking at 7.4 blocks per game and has out-blocked its opponents 90-34. Jarvis Varnado led the Bulldog block party with four. Mississippi State also out rebounded the undersized Patriots 38-31.
By shooting 43.4 percent, the Patriots became just the third team all season to shoot better than 40 percent against the Bulldogs.