Drexel's (13-18) rally from a 15-point deficit came up short as it fell to George Mason in the opening round of the CAA Tournament, 60-54. Frantz Massenat led the Dragons with 20 points in the loss.
The Dragons' charge ended when a Massenat three-point attempt missed wide to the left with twenty seconds remaining. George Mason knocked down four free throws in the final seconds to secure the victory. Senior Daryl McCoy led the Dragons with 12 boards and closed out his career at Drexel ranked fifth all-time in rebounds with 864. Damion Lee added 11 points in the loss.
The Dragons outworked the Patriots on the boards 33-28 but fell victim to 17 turnovers that George Mason turned into 21 points.
Drexel shot 36.7 percent from the floor and made just 5-of-19 three-pointers. The Patriots turned in a similar shooting effort, making 38.3 percent of their shots from the field and only 4-of-17 from distance.
Sherrod Wright led George Mason with 23 points and Bryon Allen added 16 for the Patriots.
After trailing by 15 points Drexel whittled the George Mason lead down to just two when Lee hit a three-pointer from the left side with just over a minute in the game. But after getting a defensive stop and giving themselves a chance to take a lead, the Dragons hopes of advancing were squelched with the Massenat miss and the Patriots' ensuing free throws.
Massenat touched off the rally by spurring a 9-2 Drexel run with three-pointer from the top of the arc. The scoring spurt brought the Dragons within eight points by the nine-minute mark of the half. Derrick Thomas drained a three from the left wing to trim the margin to 48-41 with under eight to play.
The Dragons continued to chip away as the game marched toward conclusion. A steal by Lee turned into a Massenat free throw that cut the margin to seven points, and a minute later the junior guard knocked down a three-pointer to bring Drexel within four, 53-49, with four and a half minutes remaining.
But Bryon Allen promptly responded with a three-pointer to keep his Patriots in possession of a comfortable lead.
George Mason began to pull away in the first five minutes of the second half when they followed a pair of Sherrod Wright free throws with a steal and a quick bucket to take a 37-27 lead. Two minutes later, the Patriots found themselves in the bonus when Tavon Allen was whistled for Drexel's seventh team foul. Bryon Allen knocked down a pair of free throws to give George Mason a 12-point lead with under 13 minutes to play. Bryon Allen pushed that advantage to 14 when he poached a pass at the top of the key and took it the other way for a layup.
The Dragons trailed 27-23 at halftime after an opening 20 minutes that saw George Mason convert nine turnovers by the Dragons into 11 points.
Behind 18-13 in the early going of the first half, the Dragons used back-to-back buckets in the lane by Derrick Thomas and Aquil Younger to close the margin with under seven minutes to play.
Massenat gave Drexel a brief 21-20 lead, the Dragons' with 4:30 left in the half, but Vertrail Vaughns answered with a bucket on the ensuing possession to put the Patriots back on top.
Minutes later, a pair of free throws by Damion Lee put the Dragons ahead 23-22 and the Dragons would maintain it for the next two minutes until a three-point play by Wright reclaimed it for George Mason with 1:16 in the half.
The Patriots closed the half with a 5-0 spurt to take a 27-23 lead into the locker room.