George Mason holds off Bucknell 61-57

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FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) -- Ryan Pearson scored 13 of his 16 points in the second half and Sherrod Wright scored 14 as George Mason defeated Bucknell 61-57 on Wednesday night.

Bryon Allen added 12 points for the Patriots (5-2), winners of three straight and 17 consecutive home games.

Cameron Ayers scored 18 of his 23 points in the second half for the Bison (5-3), sinking seven straight shots after halftime including four from beyond the arc. Mike Muscala finished with 11 points and 15 rebounds.

Saddled with fouls early in the second half, Pearson made five of the Patriots' six free throws over the final 4:34, including four during a 6-0 run as the Patriots pulled ahead 57-53.

Ayers drained a 3-pointer to pull the Bison closer, but would miss his final two attempts. After Allen's layup and a Pearson free throw sandwiched a Bison free throw, Muscala missed on a potential game-tying 3-pointer in the final seconds. Vertrail Vaughns made one of two free throws with three seconds to seal the victory.

The Patriots used a pair of 14-4 runs to open and close the first half with Allen scoring five points in each stretch. After the Bison used a 17-4 run to surge in front for a 21-17 lead, the Patriots scored the final 10 points and led 32-25 at halftime.

After the Patriots took their largest lead at 36-27 less than two minutes into the second half, the Bison scored nine consecutive points to tie and pulled ahead 42-39 with 11:18 remaining.

George Mason made more free throws (19) than Bucknell attempted (12). The Patriots outscored Bucknell in the paint 34-18.

Ayers shot 5 of 8 from beyond the arc, but his Bison teammates missed all 10 of their 3-point attempts.