- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The initial euphoria was gone as George Mason coach Paul Hewitt strode into his press conference as Tuesday teetered on Wednesday.

His reaction was still very much the same as it was a half-hour earlier.

“I still can’t believe it,” Hewitt confessed.

Nor could anyone, really. Not after Sherrod Wright swished a 25-foot forever moment at the buzzer to hand the Patriots a 62-61 victory over Virginia Commonwealth.

Perhaps it won’t mean much in the long run. The Patriots (22-6, 14-2 CAA) nudged the Rams (22-6, 13-3) out of a three-way tie for the conference lead. They’ll meet again Feb. 25. They might see each other in the CAA tournament. The script might not be repeated.

It almost certainly won’t, actually. This would be tough to replicate.

The setup

It wasn’t entirely finished, but VCU was doing what it was supposed to. Up five in the final minute, the Rams kept making free throws.

But then Ryan Pearson hit a 3-pointer to trim Mason’s deficit to two.

And Vertrail Vaughns nailed an outside shot to leave VCU clinging to a 60-59 lead with 4.2 seconds left.

Not to worry. The steady Rams sent Briante Weber to the foul line, where he promptly missed the first.

Nearby, coach Shaka Smart pondered the scenario. He considered ordering a missed free throw. He thought about taking his final timeout, only to back off at the possibility of Mason enjoying more space.

Weber’s second shot slipped through seamlessly, and the Rams’ edge was back to two. But deep down, Smart wasn’t entirely thrilled with one portion of the scoreboard.

“I kept looking at the clock and thinking, ‘That’s a little bit too much,’” Smart said. “I wished it was 2.8 or 1.8 because a good player can go the length of the floor and get a good shot off.”

The inbound

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