Cody Norman, Staff Writer

After 18 consecutive Colonial Athletic Association victories at the Patriot Center, the George Mason Patriots men’s basketball team dropped their third straight home game on Saturday afternoon in a nail-biting 50-48 finish to the Northeastern Huskies.

The Patriots conclude the regular season with a 17-13 overall record and a 12-6 conference record, while the Huskies improved to 19-11 overall and 14-4 in the CAA.
Mason held a slim 48-45 advantage with 25 seconds left to play when senior guard Matt Janning canned a deep range 3-pointer to knot the game at 48.

The Patriots held the ball at the top of the key as the clock wound down before freshman forward Luke Hancock made a strong move toward the rim.

Hancock’s shot rimmed out and a missed dunk attempt by sophomore Mike Morrison allowed Northeastern one last desperation heave with five seconds to go. Junior Chaisson Allen pulled up short of the 3-point line and drew a questionable foul call on Patriots’ sophomore forward Ryan Pearson.
Allen knocked down two of three free throws with less than one second to go to seal the deal for the Huskies.

“I thought we did everything we needed to do except win,” said Head Coach Jim Larranaga. “We defended them well, we rebounded well, [but] handed a few too many turnovers in the first half that gave them scoring opportunities. It was a close game, as it’s been throughout the season.”

Pearson scored 11 points for the Patriots while snagging six rebounds in over 34 minutes of work, and Morrison added eight points and 12 rebounds in the losing effort. Both teams had a slow start, combining for eight points after seven minutes of play. But Mason went on a 7-0 run to gain the early 13-6 advantage.

The Huskies rallied back with six consecutive points to cut the lead to 13-12. Freshman guard Sherrod Wright continued his strong play as of late and provided Mason with a spark off the bench.
On back-to-back possessions in the closing minutes of the first half, Wright threw the hammer down on two separate defenders for four of his team-high 13 points.

Wright’s second posterizer came at the 5:41 mark to extend Mason’s lead to six points at 18-12.
In the last five minutes of the first half, the Patriots shot just 1-of-7, while the Huskies closed out the half on a 9-2 run to take a 21-20 lead.

Trailing 28-25 four minutes into the second half, Mason went on a 6-0 run to take a 31-28 lead.
After a back-and-forth battle throughout the second half, Mason started to pull away at 46-42 with one minute left in regulation.

Struggling to shoot crucial free throws at the end of the game previously, Mason was able to come through down the stretch. Hancock made both free throws, and Pearson followed through with 33 seconds left to give Mason a 48-45 lead.

Coming out a timeout, Janning dribbled past a screen and launched a 30-foot 3-pointer and tied the ballgame at 48-all as the shot was nothing but net, silencing the Mason crowd. The Patriots looked for a final chance to win as Hancock drove to the hoop with the seconds ticking; Morrison attempted to put back Hancock’s miss, but unsuccessfully doing so allowed the Huskies to dribble downcourt and lob a desperation shot.

Allen leaned in for his last-second shot; trailing behind, Pearson attempted to put a hand on the ball and was called for the foul. Allen made two free throws to send Mason to its third consecutive home loss.
The Patriots have lost four of their last five matchups, but will hold a top four seed in next weekend’s CAA Tournament in Richmond.