trailed 69-64 with 17 seconds left following a
four-point play that seemed to put the Patriots in place for
tournament championship game. But junior Kendall Williams hit a
from just inside the center court line with 11.9 seconds. Williams
the inbounds pass from George Mason. The Lobos passes made their way
baseline to freshman guard Cleveland Thomas, who drive then kicked
the ball out
to Snell who calmly nailed the trey with 1.8 seconds left.
The Patriots managed to get up a desperation
shot at the
buzzer but it was far wide and off.
"We found a way to win," said New Mexico head
coach Steve Alford. "We made two unbelievable plays down the
now we get a chance to play in the championship."
Snell finished with a game high 27 points on 8
shooting and 4 of 6 on 3-pointers for New Mexico (3-0). Williams
points and four assists but committed five of UNM’s 19 turnovers.
forward Cameron Bairstow added 10 points and five rebounds while
Alex Kirk came
off the bench to score eight points and nine rebounds.
Sherrod Wright paced George Mason (2-2) with 22
Johnny Williams and Patrick Holloway added 12 and 11 points
The two teams were tied 28-28 at halftime after
shooting half for both teams but the Patriots warmed up from
three-point line and GMU took a 48-41 lead with 11:24 left in the
Lobos whittled the lead down to 63-62 on a trey by Alex Kirk with
1:13 left in
But Wright came back and hit a trey and was
fouled by Snell
and the four-point play gave the Patriots a 67-62 lead. George
Mason had a
chance to push the lead to seven after a turnover by Greenwood but
front end of a one-and-one. After a Lobos basket, Wright hit a
pair of free
throws to take the score to 69-64, setting up the final sequence
"This was a great win," said Alford. "It was
a very good team we beat in George Mason. It was the best they
shot the ball
all year. We didn't play very good basketball, but we are 3-and-0.
The Lobos, who finished 22 of 55 shooting (44%)
and 9 of 18
on treys, made eight of their last nine FGs, including their last
attempts. The Patriots shot 41% for 24 of 58, 11 of 23 on
George Mason outrebounded UNM 31 to 27.