- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 15, 2014

FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) - George Mason was on the verge of pulling off a big upset against No. 16 Massachusetts until the final 30 seconds.

Sherrod Wright scored 26 points, but committed two costly turnovers in the final minute as No. 16 Massachusetts rallied from an 8-point second-half deficit to defeat George Mason, 88-87, on Wednesday.

The Patriots (7-10, 0-3 Atlantic-10), seeking their first win over a ranked opponent in over six years, lost their fourth straight and eighth in the last 10.

“It’s a shame that we didn’t take advantage of how well we played tonight,” George Mason coach Paul Hewitt said. “We’ve got to get better. I’ve got to do a better job with these guys of helping them close the deal. We’re a good team, we’ve got to play better.

“It’s disappointing to be 7-10. We shouldn’t be 7-10.”

The loss was George Mason’s sixth of five points or fewer, and was its third in the last four home games after winning the first four games at the Patriot Center.

Bryon Allen scored 21 points and Jalen Jenkins added 16 points and nine rebounds for the Patriots.

Chaz Williams scored 26 points and had eight assists for the Minutemen (15-1, 3-0), and Cady Lalanne added 19 points and nine rebounds before fouling out with 6:03 remaining on a three-point play by Allen.

Wright scored 12 points in the opening 4 minutes of the second half as George Mason extended a 47-45 halftime advantage to 59-52. The Patriots eventually pushed their lead to 67-59 on a layup by Jenkins with 11:38 remaining.

The Minutemen, which shot 55 percent from the field, rallied back and took their first lead of the half, 77-76, on a 3-pointer by Trey Davis with 4:08 to play.

Williams drew the Minutemen to within 87-86 with 18 seconds remaining on a layup following the first turnover by Wright, who stepped on the sideline attempting an inbound pass at midcourt. His second turnover, which occurred on a steal in the backcourt by Williams, led to Gordon’s game-winning putback off a missed layup by Williams.

Gordon, who finished with 10 points, had re-entered after suffering a lower back injury on a drive to the basket earlier in the half.

“We got a little lucky there at the end,” UMass coach Derek Kellogg said. “A couple balls bounced our way and our guys made some big plays. I think they locked in like they have all year, and we came away with a big road victory.

“I told the refs at the end that we were actually not trying to foul, that’s not what we do. I thought that they just let us play through.”

George Mason’s last win over a ranked team was against then-No. 18 Kansas State on Nov. 22, 2007.

The Patriots are allowing 81 points per game on 49 percent shooting through their first three games as a member of the Atlantic-10.

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