At times it looked ugly and at times it looked pretty hopeless for the Patriots but they hung and applied the pressure on defense to come out on top. Mike Morrison put the exclamation point on the end of the game with a breakaway monster jam in the closing seconds. The big man finished with 10 points but more importantly a team-high 11 rebounds. Luke Hancock really stepped up when the team needed him today. Ryan Pearson was hobbled with foul trouble and mostly shut out by the Villanova’s front court. Mike Morrison and reserve Johnny Williams made key contributions down the stretch in Pearson’s absence.
Luke Hancock was really the MVP today. In the first half he was getting beat on defense and yielded a couple of open look three-pointers from Coreys but he turned things around in the second half. He was able to get to the foul line when the Patriots needed a basket and help swing the momentum in their direction in the 2nd half.
Villanova’s two Coreys dominated the first half but Mason held them mostly scoreless for the beginning of the second half and used that to inch closer into the Wildcats’ lead. There was sloppy passes and ill-advised shots but Mason eventually mounted a run late. The Patriots closed the game on a 13-3 tear but the more impressive part of the ending was the stout defense that came alive in the closing seconds. For most of the game we didn’t see that defense that got Mason to where they are now.
Here is the last stretch where Mason took control:
Here is an interesting statistic from ESPN after the game: “Four of the last six teams to defeat Villanova in the NCAA tournament have gone on to win the championship”.
Post game interviews. Coach L when asked how his team came back today: “I have no idea.”