Mason men's basketball falls to Santa Clara, 80-77 in the CBI Finals

Santa Clara and Mason players get into position to rebound the ball (Photo by Hannah Kreider).
Santa Clara and Mason players get into position to rebound the ball (Photo by Hannah Kreider).

The George Mason University men's basketball team's season came to an end on a losing note Friday night as Kevin Foster and Santa Clara University held off the Patriots' late advances for a 80-77 College Basketball Invitational Finals win. 

Foster, the all-time leading scorer in Santa Clara history, scored 24 points, including a clutch baseline three-pointer with 1:11 left that sealed the lead for the Broncos. Santa Clara's veteran leadership in Foster, redshirt senior Marc Trasolini (20 points) and junior guard Evan Roquemore (19 points and six assists) proved to be a deciding factor in the Broncos' resiliency and fortitude in the final minutes. 

Trailing by as many as 10 points in the first half, while allowing a total of 27 second chance points to the Patriots, Santa Clara battled back to secure their first CBI championship. 

"This is obviously disappointing but we got a lot out of this event," said Mason coach Paul Hewitt. "I think it's going to help us a lot moving forward to next year."

Mason controlled the tempo for much of the game until relinquishing their lead until 15:21 remaining in the second half. After the Broncos took the lead, the Patriots were unable to build a lead of more than two points for the remainder of the contest. 

The Broncos executed their offensive sets effectively and when the team needed it most, Foster stepped up. The final three-pointer was Foster's 431st, most in Santa Clara history. 

Sherrod Wright led the Patriots with 23 points and 10 rebounds for his third double-double of the season. Jonathan Arledge added 16 points and seven rebounds and Erik Copes turned in seven points and 11 rebounds. 

"There were a lot of encouraging signs," Hewitt said. "It's a starting point. It's certainly not who we are. We're going into a league that's going to be a tougher league but we beat some teams in this event that are very talented basketball teams; very much like the caliber we're going to see in the A-10."

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