2013 CBI Championship: George Mason Forces Game 3 After Santa Clara Goes Cold

USA TODAY Sports

An ice-cold shooting night by Santa Clara and 43 free throws by the Patriots force a deciding game Friday.

Live by the three, die by the three. That should pretty much sum things up for Santa Clara on Wednesday night.

Maybe they were distracted a little by playing in a gym that made even their 4,500 seat gym look gargantuan. Maybe it was that the back wall behind the basket might have been five feet away.

Whatever the issue, the Broncos shot just 20 percent from the 3-point line (5-for-25), as George Mason even the CBI Championship series at a game apiece with a 73-66 win at the RAC.

The game, which was forced to move out of the 10,000-seat Patriot Center because of a college fair, was almost never within reach for Santa Clara, and it was really because the most important shooters never got it going.

Kevin Foster was just 6-for-15 from the floor and 2 of 10 from 3-point range. His 16 points led Santa Clara. Evan Roquemore, who was the player of the night in Game 1, shot just 2-for-13, scoring nine points.

It all added up to a 37.5 percent shooting performance as a team, basically killing the hope for a Bronco sweep.

It wasn't much better on the winning side. George Mason shot only 40 percent, but had built a 13-point lead by halftime that was too hard to fritter away given the Bronco shooting issues. It also helped that almost every Santa Clara player earned themselves a bit of foul trouble.

The Broncos committed 32 fouls in the game, and sent Mason to the line 43 times. Other than poor shooting at times, this tendency to give their opponents free shots has been one of the Achilles heels for Santa Clara. They have almost an uncanny ability to foul and keep letting teams hold onto leads.

Now, the Patriots were only able to score on 30 of those changes, almost 70 percent. But 43 times is too many for a team that hopes to win a series.

Sherrod Wright led the way for George Mason with 20 points and 10 rebounds, including some key boards within the final minutes as Santa Clara battled its way back to get within four.

The only other time that the Broncos really looked on a roll in the final minutes, Patrick Holloway, the freshman sensation who tried to keep the Patriots close in Game 1, hit a three in the corner to put Mason back on track.

Bryon Allen added 15 points and Erik Copes had 10 points and nine rebounds in the win.

The deciding game will be played Friday, at the Patriot Center, with the tip scheduled for 7 p.m. Eastern.

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