CLEVELAND —- Senior guard Isaiah Tate will start for George Mason on Sunday against Ohio State in the teams’ NCAA tournament round of 32 game according to lineups provided by the NCAA. Sophomore Luke Hancock is ill and still at the team hotel, though it is possible he will play, a team spokesman said.
It is only the fourth time in 34 games that Mason will veer away from its primary starting lineup of Hancock, Cam Long, Andre Cornelius, Ryan Pearson and Mike Morrison. In all four cases, Tate started for Hancock.
The Patriots (27-6) are unbeaten this season when Tate starts, defeating UNC Wilmington in the CAA opener, upending Duquesne in double overtime and dispatching Northeastern in Mason’s home finale.
Hancock scored 18 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer in the closing seconds of Friday’s 61-57 defeat of Villanova. The point total was one shy of his career-high.
The 6-foot-4, 207-pound Tate frazzled Villanova’s Corey Fisher in the second half Friday, so Hancock’s absence might not be felt as acutely at the defensive end. All five of Ohio State’s starters are 6-foot-5 or taller.
The full lineups:
No. 8 GEORGE MASON
No. 1 OHIO STATE
—- Patrick Stevens