Sonnen, Northern Iowa end Mason's 14-game home win streak with 82-77 win
Entering Saturday night's game against the University of Northern Iowa Panthers, the George Mason University Patriots men's basketball team had six of their nine games decided by five points or less. The same held true against the Panthers (6-3), who snapped Mason's 14-game home win streak Saturday with a 82-77 at the Patriot Center.
Mason (6-4) fell behind early, trailing by as much as 10 points to a Northern Iowa team that on the year had shot 45 percent from the field and 37 percent from behind the arc.
"I thought we could battle back," said Mason coach Paul Hewitt. "I thought our pressure could get us back in it and it did."
Panthers senior guard Marc Sonnen led all scorers and tied his career-high with 21 points, all of which came on three-pointers. Every shot that he took seemed to find the bottom of the net as he shot an impressive 70 percent from behind the arc.
For the Patriots, junior guard Sherrod Wright continued to provide a bulk of the team's scoring, finishing with 20 points, five rebounds and two steals.
With the game tied and the Patriots with the last possession of regulation, Hewitt drew up a play for junior guard Bryon Allen.
"We wanted to try to get Bryon into the middle of the floor with a ball screen," said Hewitt. "We felt like we had some success there. I didn't explain it clearly enough and we didn't execute, but that falls on me."
Allen scored 13 points for the Patriots but five turnovers including a crucial turnover in the closing seconds of the overtime period were costly.
The Patriots will take a break for final exams but will return to the hardwood on Saturday, Dec. 22 at the Richmond Coliseum for the Governor's Holiday Hoops Classic against the University of Richmond at 3 p.m.
Photo by John Irwin