UNI holds off late GMU push

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BRANDON TJEPKES, Sports Editor

The University of Northern Iowa basketball team escaped with a 71-65 win over George Mason University on Saturday. George Mason started the game with the lead 4-0 before UNI gained the lead 6-4 after a couple 3-pointers from Deon Mitchell and Jeremy Morgan. 

GMU tied it up, but Nate Buss and Bennett Koch teamed up for six points to acquire a 12-7 lead. Buss and Koch led the first half in scoring with six and seven points, respectively. 

The score was tied up two more times in the first half, but GMU was not able to acquire the lead. UNI finished the half strong as Koch and Wyatt Lohaus scored consecutively. The first half ended with UNI in the lead 27-23.

“In the first half, I thought we played great [defensively.]” Koch said.

Paul Jesperson drained a three early in the second half to put the lead at 30-24. UNI was able to score but was subject to quite a few fouls. 

The lead slowly rose as Tuttle, Morgan and Jesperson fought hard to give UNI a 50-38 lead with 6:35 remaining in the game. 

The Patriots began to fight back to diminish the lead but it seemed to take too much time. A Nate Buss dunk at :28 remaining gave UNI the lead 57-51. GMU put in two straight 3-pointers while UNI only had two free throws down the stretch. 

Tuttle reclaimed the lead with six seconds remaining but a foul was called on Wes Washpun with two seconds left. 

GMU’s Marquise Moore made both free throws and regulation ended with a tie 59-59. 

The Patriots committed two fouls to open overtime. Tuttle and Marvin Singleton each put in one of two free throws. 

GMU was able to tie the game once again but could never seal the deal. Jesperson drew three fouls in the last 26 seconds and made all six free throws to finish it 71-65.

“Defensively, it felt like we did a good job again,” Coach Jacobson said. “I felt we did the right things in terms of being physical and playing hard.”

UNI will travel to Colorado to play the University of Denver on Wednesday Dec. 10.