Saint Louis outscored George Mason 9-0 over the final 2:05, including 3-pointers by Terrence Hargrove Jr. and Gibson Jimerson on consecutive possessions, and the Billikens improved to 3-1 in Atlantic 10 Conference play with a 63-62 victory Wednesday night at Chaifetz Arena.
The 3-pointers turned a 62-54 deficit into a one-possession game, 62-60, with 1:34 remaining. Following a George Mason shot clock violation, Collins fed Jimerson for a backdoor layup that tied it at 62.
The Patriots (10-7, 2-2) missed a 3-point attempt with 31 seconds left. Collins was fouled in the act of shooting with just 1.7 on the clock and sank his second free throw to give the Billikens (11-6) the win.
SLU took the first-half lead for good, 8-6, at the 17:20 mark on the first of four Jimerson 3-pointers. The Bills built the margin to nine, 32-23, with 1:49 to play, but George Mason tallied the last eight points of the half and trailed just 32-31 at the break.
The Patriots extended the run to 20-6 and held a 43-38 edge with 14:31 remaining. A Jimerson triple and two Hargrove free throws made it a 43-all deadlock at the 13:07 mark.
Mason quickly went back in front and led 51-45 with 8:54 left. Two free throws apiece by Francis Okoro and Javonte Perkins lifted the Billikens to within a bucket, and a Jimerson trey put SLU on top 52-51 with 7:29 left.
Three more lead changes followed, and the third was the beginning of a 9-0 spurt that gave Mason a 62-54 advantage with 2:21 to play. SLU’s defense rose to the challenge, however, paving the way for the Billikens’ game-ending run.
Jimerson led Saint Louis with 16 points, 13 of which came in the second half. Hargrove and Perkins tossed in 10 points apiece.