Continued from page 1

The Rams (27-6) will face top-seeded Drexel (27-5) in Monday’s title game.

Mason, meanwhile, probably will receive the opportunity to play again, just not in the NCAA tournament. Hewitt said he had yet to discuss postseason possibilities with athletic director Tom O’Connor.

Regardless, it was an unusual way for the dream of consecutive NCAA bids to end. The Patriots’ humiliating early struggles essentially cost them almost any chance of reaching the conference title game. And yet, given a few more minutes, Mason might have caught VCU.

What’s that worth? Not enough to move, but certainly some self-respect that appeared endangered for nine long, dreadful minutes the Patriots would no doubt pay dearly to have back.

“We wanted to win and we didn’t, but I’m still very proud of my teammates,” Morrison said. “The whole team, we fought back and never quit. I don’t know. I’m disappointed with the loss, but when you fall that far behind, the best you can do is fight back that far. We fell just short.”