- Associated Press - Saturday, February 18, 2012

FAIRFAX, Va. — Ryan Pearson scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, and George Mason held off Lamar in a 75-71 victory on Saturday.

Sherrod Wright finished with 13 points for George Mason (23-6), which was hosting the Cardinals (17-10) as part of the Bracket Buster series.

Brandon Davis led the Cardinals with 13 points and Devon Lamb added 12.

George Mason led by 13 points at halftime and pulled ahead by 17 with 15:28 left to play.

The Cardinals rallied and trailed by one when Mike James (10 points) got a steal and drove for a dunk that put Lamar up 69-68 with 3:21 to play.

George Mason’s Andre Cornelius responded with a three-pointer to put the Patriots back in front and Bryon Allen’s jumper made it 73-69 with 2:08 left.

The Cardinals pulled within two points on a pair of Davis free throws and had two chances to tie the score. But they couldn’t convert either time and Pearson made two free throws with 6 seconds left.

The Patriots shot 57.1 percent (28 of 49), their second best performance of the season, and Lamar finished at 47.4 percent (27 of 57).

The Cardinals used a 12-0 run early in the game to take a 21-12 lead.

The Patriots rallied and outscored Lamar 27-3 over the next nine minutes as they held the Cardinals without a field goal during the run.

The Patriots shot a blistering 68 percent (17 of 25), including 4 of 7 from three-point range in the first half, while Lamar shot 46.2 percent (12 of 26).

Nine Patriots got in on the scoring during the half, led by Pearson with nine points, and George Mason reserves contributed 23 points.

The teams were playing for just the second time, and the first since 1986.

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