The victory over George Mason marked the first time since Jan. 6, 1992 that the Tigers beat the Patriots. It also marked the first time that Towson beat the Patriots in Fairfax since Dec. 13, 1977.
The Tigers’ 17th win of the season gave Towson its highest single season victory total since 1993-94 when they posted a 21-9 record.
Lou Henson Award finalist Jerrelle Benimon led the Tigers with a career-high 31 points as he made 10 of 14 shots from the floor. He also had seven rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots. Junior Marcus Damas posted a season-high 23 points as he connected on 8 of 13 shots.
With the score tied at 81-81 in overtime, graduate student Bilal Dixon scored the go-ahead basket off a tip-in with 37 seconds left. With 7.6 seconds remaining, Benimon blocked a shot by Erik Copes. Damas grabbed the rebound, was fouled and made two free throws to give the Tigers an 85-81 advantage.
The Tigers held the Patriots to one-for-seven shooting in the overtime period.
However, Towson’s seventh win in its last eight games did not come easy. With 1:03 remaining in regulation, the Tigers had a 76-69 lead. But, Patrick Holloway hit two three-points in the final 50 seconds and Anali Okoloji nailed a three-pointer with 1.2 seconds left to send the game into overtime.
Despite not leading since the game was 2-0, the Patriots took the game into overtime. George Mason scored the first basket in overtime to take an 81-79 lead before Benimon’s basket with 1:56 left tied the game for the sixth time.
Led by Benimon, the Tigers owned a 46-36 halftime advantage. The junior forward scored 22 points on 8-for-9 shooting in the opening period. The game was tied three times, including a 32-32 deadlock with 5:02 left in the half. But a tip-in by Dixon sparked an 8-0 run as Towson outscored George Mason 14-4 over the final five minutes of the half.
In the second half, the Patriots came back and tied the game at 53-53 on a tip-in by Copes with 11:24 left in regulation.
But, the Tigers used another 8-0 run to take a 61-53 lead with 8:12 left, setting the stage for the Patriots’ last-minute comeback.
Dixon led the Tigers with 10 rebounds as Towson outrebounded George Mason, 46-39.
Towson closes out the season on Saturday when the Tigers host Hofstra in their final Towson Center game ever at 4 p.m.