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UNI remains unbeaten with 71-65 win over George Mason

Photo courtesy of UNI Athletics Communications
Photo courtesy of UNI Athletics Communications

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – The University of Northern Iowa men’s basketball team ran its season mark to 8-0 with a 71-65 overtime victory over the visiting George Mason Patriots on Saturday night at the McLeod Center.

The Panthers had four players in double figures led by senior Seth Tuttle’s 16 points. Junior Paul Jesperson (12 pts.), redshirt freshman Bennett Koch (11 pts.) and Nate Buss (10 pts.) all came off the bench to reach double-figure scoring.

George Mason was led by Marquise Moore’s game-high 20 points and nine rebounds.

UNI led 27-23 at the intermission after shooting 37 percent from the floor in the first 20 minutes.

UNI had a 12-point lead of 50-38 with 6:35 left in regulation before GMU used a late push to force overtime. UNI even led by six at 57-51 with 28 seconds left in the second half after a dunk by Nate Buss.

GMU’s Isaiah Jackson buried a three-pointer to cut the lead to three, 57-54 with 23 seconds left. After UNI’s Wes Washpun made 1-of-2 at the line, GMU’s Vaughn Gray drained another three-pointer to cut the lead to one with :08 left. Tuttle made 1-of-2 at the line leaving the door open for the Patriots. GMU’s Moore then drove the length of the floor and drew a foul on Washpun with 1.3 ticks left. Moore sank both free throws to force overtime.

UNI never trailed in overtime but saw GMU rally from an early four-point deficit to knot the game at 63-63 with 1:39 left. Tuttle put UNI ahead with a bucket in the lane with 1:11 left. Jesperson then knocked down six free throws in the closing 26 seconds to gain the victory, 71-65.

UNI will travel to Denver, Colo., on Wednesday for a matchup against the Denver Pioneers. Tip is set for 8 p.m. (CT) at Magness Arena.

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