Sunday , Mar , 26 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

The slipper still fits: George Mason stuns UConn

Washington, DC (Sports Network) – Jai Lewis scored 20 points and Will Thomas
added 19, as George Mason survived a Connecticut rally in both regulation and
overtime to pull out a stunning 86-84 victory in the Washington, DC regional
final of the NCAA Tournament.

George Mason (27-7) became the first team from the Colonial Athletic
Association to reach the Final Four and the first 11th seed to make it that
far since LSU in 1986. The Patriots will play the winner between Villanova and
Florida next Saturday in Indianapolis.

Rudy Gay scored 20 points for top-seeded Connecticut (30-4), which couldn’t
pull out yet another miracle finish after rallying from double-digits to beat
Washington in overtime in Friday’s regional semifinal.

The Huskies were again staring elimination in the face, down 74-70 with 17.6
seconds to play in regulation after Lamar Butler converted both ends of a one-
and-one for George Mason, but Marcus Williams drove the lane and scored with
7.9 seconds left.

UConn fouled on the inbound and Tony Skinn, an 81 percent free throw shooter,
missed the front end of the one-and-one. Gay grabbed the rebound and quickly
got it to Williams, who sent it ahead to Denham Brown. The senior drove the
left side of baseline and his reverse layup bounced off the rim three times
before falling through with no time on the clock to tie it.

The teams traded buckets to start the overtime period until Gay missed a
three-point try with 2 1/2 minutes remaining. Thomas followed with a jump-hook
to give the Patriots an 82-78 edge with 2:10 left.

After Brown made two free throws for UConn, Folarin Campbell hit a tough
fadeaway jumper with 1:12 remaining. Rashad Anderson then air-balled a three-
point try and Lewis made one free throw with 41 seconds left to give George
Mason an 85-80 edge.

Jeff Adrien hit one free throw for Connecticut and Thomas made one more from
the stripe for the Patriots before Williams buried a long three-pointer to
pull the Huskies within 86-84 with 10.1 seconds to play.

Lewis went to the line with 6.1 seconds remaining and missed both shots,
giving the Huskies one last chance. Brown had a good look at a three-pointer
from the left wing, but the shot bounced off the rim as time expired.