Joseph Carr scored the winning basket with five seconds left, then blocked Mark McGettrick's shot at the buzzer last night as the University of Baltimore beat George Mason, 53-52, in a game that neither team seemed to want to win.
Carr's bucket gave the Super Bees their only lead of the second half after the visitors had been in command for all but 1 1/2 of the first 20 minutes.
The game's frantic finish was the antithesis of its beginning, which could best be described as bizarre. The Patriots, (10-5), who saw a five-game winning streak snapped, did not score a point in the first 10:16. Mason's first four points were made from the free throw line, as Ellsworth Lewis, Andre Graddy (twice) and Greg Deegan all went one-for-two in succession.
By then the Super Bees, not exactly sharpshooters themselves, held a 12-4 lead. The Patriots had been in a bonus free-throw situation for two minutes before their first field goal: McGettrick dropped in a jumper from behind a three-man screen at the top of the key to make it 13-6 with 8:54 left.
The Super Bees scored only seven points the remainder of the half, while McGettrick added eight more personally to give George Mason a 21-20 halftime lead.
"We were very impressive in the beginning, weren't we?" Bee Coach Frank Szymanski asked sarcastically.
"Any other team getting off to that bad a start would have walked out," he added, referring to the Patrots. "They came back strong while we started going downhill."
Both teams' first-half performances should have been buried. The visitors shot 36 percent from the field, 13 percent better than Mason's seven-of 30. The Patriots proved they were consistent, connecting on a horrid 38 percent from the foul line.
But George Mason came out in the second half looking more like a team that had practiced. Dunks by Keith Lewis and Gaddy, a Gaddy hook and three jumpers by forward Dave Skaff put the hosts in command, 33-26.
Mason continued to hold the lead, hitting free throws and getting good hustle at the defensive and by Keith Lewis.
But them matters got sticky for the hosts. Mason missed three straight shots, turned the ball over and was called for offensive goaltending while the Bees were pulling to 43-39. Brian Jenkins, Baltimore's quick, 5-foot-8 guard, sandwiched a driving layup and an assist to center Mike Decker around two free throws by Deegan to bring the Bees to 45-43.
Three and one-half minutes later, with Mason holding a 52-49 lead off, Keith Lewis' dunk, Baltimore's hustle on defense began paying off.
The patriots, trying to chip seconds off the clock, turned the ball over with 1:35 remaining. Five seconds later, guard Joe Johnson was fouled and sank two free throws to move the Bees within a point, 52-51.
Mason spent another 46 seconds passing the ball in its front court before Deegan was fouled. His first try at one-and-one failed with 44 seconds remaining.
Baltimore called timw with 34 seconds showing and resumed by running off 29 seconds before the 6-3 Carr floated in from the left and looped a three-footer over the outstretched arms of the 6-10 Gaddy.