Andre Gaddy's layup with 13 seconds remaining in overtime gave George Mason a stunning 68-67 upset over Howard before 1,452 delirious fans last night at GMU.
James Ratiff's short jumper from the corner had given the Bison a one-point lead with 27 seconds on the clock. Mason had done just about everything right the entire game, so it seemed only right that the hard-luck Patriots somehow would pull this one out of the fire for only their third victory in 19 games. Howard is 13-7.
The Patriots worked the ball around until Tony Foreman threw the ball into the 6-foot-10 Gaddy. The junior wheeled around Larry Spriggs, who was playing with four fouls, and converted the winning points.
"We wanted the ball to go inside to Gaddy," said Coach John Linn.
Howard's final chance bounced off the rim when Bernard Perry misfired from the top of the key with one second left.
As far as the Bison and Coach A. B. Williamson were concerned, there should not have been an overtime. The Bison, who trailed most of the game, had taken the lead, 56-55, on two free throws by Jeff Baird with 2:44 to play in regulations.
Over the next two minutes, it appeared neither team wanted to win, both botching several opportunities. After a 10-second violation against Howard with 1:11 on the clock, the Patriots played keep away before calling a timeout with 28 seconds to go. Dave Skaff, who played well as a second-half reserve, and Gaddy both missed short shots before Perry was whistled for pushing GMU's Terry Henderson on a rebound, with one second to play.
The Howard bench was incensed, claiming Perry was pushed by Skaff into Henderson.
"I have no comment. Whatever I say will not sound nice," said an irate Williamson. "Let the people watch the game on TV and see if they see a foul."
Henderson sank the first of the one-and-one foul situated to tie the game at 56. But he missed the second to send the game into overtime.
"I felt it was in," said Henderson , who finished with 15 points. I sure shot it to go in. But once we went into OT, I knew we had them. (Rodney) Wright had fouled out and they couldn't do but so much on offense. They couldn't run on us."
When Bison point guard Wright fouled out midway in the second half, the Bison offense came almost to a complete halt. For the rest of that half and the five-minute extra session, the Bison offense consisted of Ratiff and Spriggs jump shots, spiced by the play of Nate Speight, who contributed 15 points in a reserve role.
Speight had seven points in OT, including a three-point play to put the Bison ahead, 65-64, with a minute on the clock.
Mason's Steve Pearson sank a falling-down 12-footer to regain the lead for the hosts, 66-65, with 49 seconds remaining. Twenty seconds later, Speight canned a long jumper to put the Bison ahead again. But Gaddy, who had 19 points and 11 rebounds, sank his biggest basket of the year and GMU had avenged an earlier 11-point loss in the opener for both teams.