Penn State Beats George Mason in OT, 77-73

Associated Press
Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Talor Battle scored eight of his game-high 24 points in overtime and tied the game with a three-pointer at the end of regulation as Penn State defeated George Mason, 77-73, last night in State College, Pa., in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament.

Dre Smith hit two foul shots with five seconds left in regulation to give George Mason a 65-62 lead before Battle hurried down the court for his buzzer-beating three for Penn State (23-11). It was Battle's first bucket of the second half after missing his first seven shots.

Battle hit two more threes in overtime, scoring all but four of Penn State's 12 points in the extra frame.

John Vaughn's deep three-pointer with 7.7 seconds in overtime drew Mason (22-11) to 75-73, but Stanley Pringle hit two foul shots with seven seconds left to finally seal the win.

Penn State moves on to face Rhode Island tomorrow night. The Rams defeated Niagara, 68-62, earlier last night.

Spurned by the NCAA tournament, the Nittany Lions were able to smile again after getting their first postseason victory since upsetting North Carolina to advance to the NCAA region semifinals in 2001.

Penn State needed more late-game dramatics last night after George Mason erased a nine-point deficit in the first half and traded leads with the Nittany Lions down the stretch.

Darryl Monroe scored two key buckets in the final three minutes of regulation, including a layup with 1:01 left that gave Mason a 63-62 lead.

Battle couldn't convert on two chances to take the lead in the final minute of regulation, missing a runner in the lane as the shot clock expired and slipping on another drive to turn the ball over with six seconds left.

Pringle then fouled Smith, who hit his two late foul shots before Battle's buzzer-beater.

Cam Long had 16 points to lead the Patriots, and Smith and Andre Cornelius both had 12.

-- MOREHEAD STATE 58, ALABAMA STATE 43: The Eagles didn't need a Chief on the boards to get their first NCAA victory in a 25 years.

Center Kenneth Faried got the better of his bigger and more syllabic counterpart, and Morehead State never trailed during a victory over the Hornets in Dayton, Ohio, that opened the NCAA tournament.

Morehead (20-15) played its way into a first-round rematch on Friday with top-seeded Louisville, another Kentucky team that it knows well -- maybe a little too well for a good night's sleep the next few days.

Alabama State (22-10) hoped to set the tone defensively behind shot blocker Grlenntys Chief Kickingstallionsims Jr., a 7-foot-1 center whose reach is as long as his name. He swatted away three shots, but wasn't much help where he was needed most -- on the boards.

The Hornets could have used a few more Chiefs. Faried, the Ohio Valley Conference's defensive player of the year, had 14 points and 21 rebounds.

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