Allen Sends Patriots to Semis

March 4, 2012   ·   0 Comments

by Cody Norman

Mason 61, Georgia State 59

With just 18 seconds remaining in the game – just three seconds separating the shot clock and game clock – Bryon Allen patiently dribbled the ball near midcourt. Moving to his strong hand, Allen rubbed shoulders with Sherrod Wright and Jonathan Arledge before turning the corner and making his way into the paint. With 3.4 seconds left, Allen switched the ball from his right to his left hand, spinning the ball off the backboard, and splashed home the go-ahead bucket.

Photo credit: Stephen Kline

Just like they drew it up.

“I saw the shot clock was down to five, so I knew I had to get it on the rim,” Allen said. “Fortunately, it went in.”

With Mike Morrison and Ryan Pearson both planted on the bench after fouling out late in the second half, Allen took the game into his own hands in the final minute and carried the load for the Patriots.

“In the last minute, it was just all underclassmen on the floor,” Allen said. “We needed everyone to step up and lead as a unit, so I just wanted to lead. Lead away.”

In his first game since being named the Colonial Athletic Association’s Player of the Year, Ryan Pearson struggled to get himself going at any point during the game. Spending a majority of the night in foul trouble, Pearson never established a rhythm and scored just four points before being disqualified with about two minutes remaining in the game.

Despite Pearson’s struggles, Morrison put the Patriots on his back and carried them through the first 39 minutes of the ballgame. His leadership – physically and emotionally – rallied the troops while his 12 point-7 rebound effort kept Mason within striking distance all night. The 6-foot-9 inch senior swatted four shots as he turned in the most impressive performance of the night for Hewitt.

“I think [Morrison] is one of the best defensive players in this league,” Hewitt said. “You can’t undersell how smart he is. He is a very, very smart basketball. Both on the offensive end and the defensive end. When he’s on the floor, it does a lot for the guys defensively. I’ve been around a long time, but he’s as good as I’ve been around.”

Both Wright and Vertrail Vaughns took over the game in stretches, scoring in bunches and contributing a steady 10 and nine points respectively. The guard tandem played exceptional defense in the second half, not allowing the Georgia State guards to penetrate and, in turn, fueling Mason’s second-half comeback.

The Patriots will have to move past an emotional victory tonight as they prepare to take on rival VCU for the third time this season at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday evening.

“We get the matchup we were looking for again,” Morrison said. “It’s a neutral floor here, so we’re looking to correct our mistakes and get this win on the road to a CAA Championship – hopefully.”

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