George Mason wins the battle for first in the CAA with fireworks

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[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caj0d3K4BPw&w=640&h=360%5D

Game. Of. The. Night.

George Mason knocked off VCU 62-61, dropping the Rams a game behind both the Patriots and Drexel in the CAA standings, thanks to the heroics of Sherrod Wright, as you see above. (Higher quality video is here.)

But the excitement of this game went well beyond the final shot of the game. Mason used an 11-0 run to turn an eight point deficit into a 47-44 lead with six minutes left in the game, but after the two teams traded baskets for a few minutes, VCU’s Brad Burgess buried his second consecutive three to break a 51-all tie with 1:22 left on the clock. That’s when the flood gates opened.

As VCU knocked down free throw after free throw, Mason drilled jumper after jumper, keeping them within striking distance and extending the game. Eventually, with three seconds left on the clock, Briante Weber (who had five four in a row in the final minute before that) missed one of two, opening the door for Wright’s running prayer and a packed house in the Patriot Center. All told, VCU and George Mason combined for 18 points in the final 43 seconds, a number that gets all the more impressive when you consider that they had scored a grand total of 105 points heading into the final minutes.

If this wasn’t enough for you, Mason and VCU get their rematch on February 25th in Richmond. That puts quite a bit of pressure on Drexel, of all teams. On the same day, the last of the CAA’s regular season, the Dragons head into southern Virginia as well, taking on Old Dominion. The Monarchs are currently sitting at fourth in the CAA standings, but they are a tough team to beat at home, especially when they have the chance to play spoiler.

Is there anything better than a league race that, quite literally, comes down to the final day?

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.