Bryon Allen hit a tie-breaking three-pointer with one minute to go as George Mason opened their season with a 63-59 win over the Virginia Cavaliers.
Allen's triple capped off a 9-2 run for the homestanding Patriots, who avenged last season's 68-48 loss at the hands of Tony Bennett's team in Charlottesville and defeated Virginia for the first time in eight attempts. The Patriots also survived a poor shooting night at the foul line (8-for-19), as well as the suspensions of Erik Copes and Vaughn Gray.
Two foul shots by Joe Harris gave the Cavaliers a 55-51 lead with 4:29 remaining, but George Mason responded with six straight points, capped by an Allen layup to give the Patriots a 57-55 lead with 2:48 to go. Two Akil Mitchell foul shots drew the visitors level at 57 with 1:34 remaining, but Allen knocked down his three on the ensuing possession.
After a missed jumper by Joe Harris and an Allen turnover, Justin Anderson missed the front end of a one-and-one while Johnny Williams hit one of two foul shots to make the score 61-57. A Taylor Barnette layup made the score 61-59, but Allen hit both of his foul shots to salt the game away.
Allen finished with 13 points, while Sherrod Wright led the Patriots with 15 points. For Virginia, Harris led all scorers with 19 points.
George Mason next plays Tuesday at Patriot League favorites Bucknell. Virginia resumes its schedule Monday against Fairfield.