FAIRFAX, Va. – Kyana Jacobs hit a pair of free throws with three seconds left to lift George Mason to a 60-58 win over the Towson University women’s basketball team on Tuesday afternoon in Fairfax, Va. The heartbreaking loss spoiled a strong performance by the Tiger starters as three players recorded a “double-double” in the game.
The game was a back-and-forth affair as the two sides battled through seven ties and seven lead changes.
Towson (1-3) got off to a quick start as the visitors opened the game on an 11-2 run. Seniors Nyree Williams and Tanisha McTiller had four points each during that early run by the Tigers. Following a media timeout at 15:56, the Tigers got five straight points from sophomore Dominique Johnson and pushed the lead to 13-2 with 14:14 remaining in the half. The two teams traded baskets as McTiller’s second triple of the game gave Towson an 18-8 advantage with 12:07 left in the half. However, that was the last basket scored by the Tigers until redshirt junior LaTorri Hines-Allen’s jumper at 7:42. During that stretch, the Patriots (3-1) scored 13 straight points to take a 21-18 lead. Hines-Allen’s bucket allowed the Tigers to score 12 of the final 20 points in the half and Towson took a 32-29 lead at the break.
Towson shot 27.8% from the field to George Mason’s 31% in the first 20 minutes. The Tigers dominated the rebounding battle in the first half, 31-19, as Williams pulled down 11 first half boards.
The two teams traded baskets over the first seven minutes of the second half. Hines-Allen came out hot to start the second half as she had the Tigers’ first eight points of the second stanza. Her basket at 13:48 put the Tigers up 40-38. The two squads continued to battle as Cierra Strickland’s basket at 10:06 tied the game at 46-46. It was the sixth tie of the game at that point. Hines-Allen and McTiller scored back-to-back buckets to put Towson back on top 50-46 with 8:49 to play. Talisha Watts briefly halted the Tigers with a basket at 8:23. Hines-Allen hit a jumper at 7:33 to kick start an 8-2 run by the visitors, which gave Towson a 58-50 lead with 4:19 left on the clock. Six straight points pulled George Mason to within two, 58-56 with 1:43 to go.
Both teams had opportunities in the next 40 seconds but were unable to convert. Watts corralled an offensive rebound with 18 seconds left and was able to put back a jumper to tie the game at 58-58. The Tigers turned the ball over with four seconds to play and a Towson foul sent Jacobs to the line with three seconds left, setting the stage for the game-winning free throws.
Towson shot 34.4% in the second half and 30.9% for the game. George Mason managed to shoot 35.1% in the second stanza and 33.3% for the game. For the third time in four games, the Tigers dominated the rebounding battle. Towson finished the game with a 57-40 edge on the glass.
The Tigers got strong efforts from the three players who posted a “double-double” in the contest. Hines-Allen finished with a career-high 20 points and 13 rebounds for her first “double-double” as a Tiger. Williams posted 10 points, a game-high 17 rebounds and two blocks. McTiller recorded her second straight “double-double” and third of the season with 17 points and 15 rebounds. Johnson added seven points and six assists.
Janaa Pickard led George Mason with 16 points and six rebounds while Sandra Ngoie had 14 points and seven rebounds.
Towson faces a tough test when it is back in action on Saturday, Nov. 23. The Tigers welcome No. 8 Maryland to SECU Arena for an 8 p.m. start.