Recap: For the second time this month, George Mason battled Atlantic 10 leading Saint Louis in a way the conference standings would suggest improbable. In both cases, the game required overtime. Eventually, the result was as expected.
Sherrod Wright scored a career-high 34 points, but No. 10 Saint Louis pulled away in the extra session for a 89-85 victory, the Billikens 18th straight victory.
Jordair Jett had 25 points and Mike McCall Jr. scored 16 for Atlantic-10 leading Saint Louis (24-2), the lone undefeated team in the conference. The Billikens took control of overtime with a 12-2 run for an 85-79 lead with 48 seconds remaining.
Wright made 12 of 18 shots from the field. His final basket with six seconds left made it 87-85, but McCall sealed the win with two free throws in the final second.
Jalen Jenkins scored 16 points for the Patriots (9-17, 2-10 Atlantic 10), who rallied inside the final minute of regulation to take a 73-72 lead with 5.4 seconds remaining shortly after Saint Louis missed two free throws. Fouled scooping up a loose ball, Jenkins made two free throws to put George Mason in the lead.
Jett dribbled up the court and made it all the way to the rim where he was fouled. After missing the first attempt, he sank the second to tie the game.
George Mason has two straight and 11 of 13 games overall including its last six home games. The Patriots have not won at the Patriot Center since defeating Penn on Jan 2. in a non-conference game.
After taking a 48-41 lead with 14:47 remaining, George Mason missed three field goals and a free throw with a chance to increase the margin. Saint Louis inched back and from the 12:57 mark on neither side led by more than three points during regulation.
History: St. Louis entered the top-10 this week for the first time since 1964. The Patriots had not hosted a top-10 ranked opponent since Georgetown in 1985.
Turning point: Wright's layup gave GMU a 77-73 with 3:48 left in overtime. Rob Loe then started a 12-2 run with consecutive 3-pointers for the Billikens, who finsihed 12 of 25 from beyond the 3-point arc. McCall Jr.'s layup made it 85-79.
Stats: The Patriots scored 42 points in the pain and shot 23 of 28 from the free throw line while St. Louis went 21 of 35.
Backcourt battle: Both teams have strong guard play and most of the key pieces produced. Jett and McCall combined for 41 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists. Wright generated enough scoring for several players. His backcourt partner Bryon Allen did not. Allen, who had 30 in the first meeting, finished 3 of 14 from the field for eight points, all in the first half.
1st half: Thanks to 52 percent shooting from the field, 13 bench points and Allen's 3-pointer from inside half court following, George Mason entered halftime leading 35-32. McCall led all scorers with 13 points.
They said it: "We did everything we could to win that game. Just didn't make enough plays." - GMU coach Paul Hewitt
On deck: George Mason is off until next Wednesday when the Richmond Spiders visit the Patriot Center. The Billikens return home where they will host George Washington on Saturday.