George Mason dethrones North Carolina
Dayton, OH (Sports Network) – Tony Skinn drained 3-of-4 free throws in the
final 13 seconds, as George Mason stunned defending national champion North
Carolina, 65-60, in second-round action in the Washington, D.C. bracket of the
The senior Skinn fittingly pushed the Patriots (25-7) to their first-ever
Sweet 16 after not playing during the club’s first-round victory over Michigan
State. Skinn was suspended for a below-the-belt punch to a Hofstra player
during a Colonial Athletic Association semifinal loss.
Lamar Butler led the way with 18 points and Folarin Campbell added 15, as
George Mason became the first CAA school to reach the Sweet 16 since the
Richmond Spiders in 1988.
The 11th-seeded Patriots will face seventh-seeded Wichita State in the bracket
semifinals on Friday. George Mason won at Wichita State, 70-67, on February
David Noel ended his four-year North Carolina career with a 22-point effort
while freshman Tyler Hansbrough was bottled up for most of the contest,
finishing with 10 points and nine rebounds.
Wes Miller and Reyshawn Terry added nine points apiece for the Tar Heels
(23-8), who were undone by a Colonials’ zone defense that forced 13
turnovers and negated Hansbrough’s inside presence.
The same youthful nature that pushed North Carolina to the bracket’s third
seed cost it dearly against a George Mason squad led by a trio of seniors.
The Patriots scored the first eight points of the second half to take a 28-27
lead. In a turn of events that were a precursor of things to come, North
Carolina turned the ball over three times and Campbell’s basket capped the
quick spurt out of the gate.
Terry then buried a three, but posed after the ball fell through the net,
prompting head coach Roy Williams to yank the junior forward, not even
acknowledging him when he walked off the floor.
The Carolina coach eventually became even more frustrated.
George Mason took a 43-38 lead on Butler’s three-pointer with about 13 minutes
remaining and maintained a five-point advantage, 47-42, after Campbell netted
two free throws about three minutes later.
The Tar Heels ripped off a 9-3 scoring stretch to take a 51-50 edge with
about six minutes remaining. Hansbrough tallied his only field goal of the
second half during the run and Terry’s two free throws gave UNC the one-point
It was North Carolina’s last lead of the game.
Butler drained a three to put the Patriots ahead, 53-51, and the senior
guard’s two free throws again pushed George Mason in front, 56-54, with just
under three minutes to play.
With George Mason packing the zone in on UNC’s powerful freshman, Williams
wanted his club to push the tempo. When Bobby Frasor walked the ball up court
late in the second half, Williams turned around, picked up a chair and slammed
it to the floor.
The Tar Heels couldn’t find their stroke, and Campbell buried two free throws
with 52 seconds left to push the lead to 60-54.
North Carolina didn’t go quietly, as Miller drained a three to trim the
deficit to three. After Butler calmly stroked two free throws, Frasor buried a
long three to make the score 62-60.
However, Skinn made a pair of free throws and UNC committed a turnover on its
next possession to seal the upset.
Things weren’t always so difficult for North Carolina offensively, as the club
made 6-of-7 from the floor off the opening tip to seize a 13-2 advantage.
About 1 1/2 minutes later, Noel buried a three to make the score 16-2.
George Mason settled its nerves and slowly worked back into the game. Skinn’s
bucket capped a 14-5 spurt to cut the deficit to 21-16. Noel’s follow-up slam
pushed the advantage back to 27-18 with just over one minute to play in the
North Carolina led 27-20 at the break.
In the only other meeting between the two schools, UNC dismantled George
Mason, 115-81, during the 2003 season…North Carolina entered the NCAA
tournament averaging 80 points per game and shooting 48.1 percent from the
floor. The Tar Heels were held to 60 points and made 35.9 percent of their
shots…George Mason made only 12-of-26 from the charity stripe in its first-
round victory, but connected on 15-of-19 in this contest…Terry had 10
rebounds in the loss, but shot 2-of-12 from the floor.