Skinn's 3-Pointer Lifts Mason to School's Biggest Regular-Season Win
It was the biggest regular-season game in George Mason school history and the Patriots came to play. After squandering a 13-point second-half lead, the Patriots looked to their seniors in the clutch, and they came through. Jai Lewis passed out of a double team in the post and found a wide-open Tony Skinn on the wing, and the senior guard calmly drained a dagger of a 3-pointer, lifting Mason to a 70-67 win at Wichita State.
Competing in the ESPN BracketBuster and playing for just the second time on national television in the regular season, the Patriots never allowed Wichita State to lead by more than three. A 6-0 run late in the first half gave Mason a lead it would hold until the final minute.
The Patriots (21-5) went ahead 64-55 with 3:53 to play when Lewis hit his second 3-pointer of the night. But the Shockers (21-7) rallied, pulling to within three on a 3-pointer from Karon Bradley with 2:00 to go and tying the score at 67-67 on a Sean Ogirri 3-pointer with 28.7 seconds to play. That set up Skinn's heroic shot.
Skinn had a game-high 23 points and is just four points shy of 1,000 for his George Mason career. The 3-pointer with 10.8 seconds to go were perhaps the biggest points he has scored as a Patriot. Mason entered the game just outside the national top 25 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll. The Patriots entered the week tied for 27th and by winning in a gym where Wichita State was 13-1 entering the game, Mason showed that it can play with some of the most respected teams in the nation.
Lewis had 16 points, five rebounds and four assists while Will Thomas had 12 points and eight rebounds. Folarin Campbell added 11 points as Mason made 52 percent of its shots while holding Wichita State to 41.2 percent shooting. Kyle Wilson had a double-double for the Shockers with 15 points and 10 rebounds. He drained four 3-pointers. Paul Miller had 14 points and six rebounds while Bradley had 17 points.
Mason has now won eight straight and 14 of 15 games since a road loss on Dec. 30 at Mississippi State. The Patriots tied the school record for best start after 26 games. Mason also held the opposition to fewer than 70 points for the 23rd straight game, the second-longest active streak in the nation behind Princeton's 30-straight.
Mason will be back on the road on Thursday, battling third-place Hofstra in a critical late-season CAA game. Hofstra is 10-0 at home this year. Mason's final three road games this year are at VCU, at Wichita State and at Hofstra. Those teams are a combined 35-3 at home with two of those losses coming at the hands of the Patriots.