FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) — Sherrod Wright had 20 points and 10 rebounds and Bryon Allen added 15 points as George Mason kept its season alive with a 73-66 win over Santa Clara in Game 2 of the College Basketball Invitational finals Wednesday night.
In front of a small, yet raucous sellout crowd of 1,280 at George Mason's practice facility, the Recreation & Athletic Center, the Patriots (22-15) overcame an early second-half run by the Broncos (25-12).
The teams will meet for a deciding third game on Friday at George Mason's usual home court across campus, the 10,000-seat Patriot Center, where the Northern Virginia College Fair was being held Wednesday night.
Kevin Foster had 14 of his 16 points in the second half to pace Santa Clara.
With the Patriots' main front court scoring option, Jonathan Arledge, on the bench after picking up his second foul less than three minutes into the game, Wright and Allen carried the scoring load to help George Mason take a 37-23 halftime lead.
After missing 13 of its first 16 shots and shooting just 35 percent in the first half, Santa Clara made its push coming out of halftime. The Broncos went on a 10-2 run to open the second half, and Foster's second 3-pointer of the half cut the deficit to 47-42 with 12:04 remaining.
But George Mason responded with a 9-2 run of its own to push the lead back to 56-44 on two foul shots by Patrick Holloway with 8:43 remaining.
The game was the first the Patriots have played in the reconstructed building, which was renovated in 2009 and is home to the school's wrestling and volleyball programs. George Mason did previously play its home games down the hall in the John Linn Gym prior to the Patriot Center opening in 1985.