Kevin Foster paced four teammates in double figures with 28 points as the Santa Clara Broncos outlasted the George Mason Patriots, 81-73, in Game 1 of the College Basketball Invitational championship round at the Leavey Center.
Foster shot 5-of-11 from 3-point range and 9-of-11 from the foul line for Santa Clara (25-11), which won its fourth straight game in the tournament. Evan Roquemore netted 20 points and dished out six assists, Marc Trasolini had 17 points and seven rebounds, while Raymond Cowels III added 10 points in the winning effort.
For George Mason (21-14), Jonathan Arledge logged 21 points and eight rebounds, Bryon Allen recorded 15 points and eight assists, while Patrick Holloway poured in 17 points off the bench. Erik Copes made up for a poor night from the field (1-of-6) by hauling in 14 rebounds.
After outshooting George Mason from the field in the first half, 51.9 percent to 34.5 percent, Santa Clara carried a 39-31 lead into intermission.
Even though the Broncos shot just 36 percent after the break, they hung on to their advantage for the entire second half. Down by 11 with under a minute remaining, George Mason made things interesting by scoring seven points in a matter of 16 seconds, but Santa Clara scored the final four points of the game to seal its fate.
The Broncos turned 19 Patriots' turnovers into 19 points. They also shot an impressive 25-of-30 from the free-throw line.
George Mason will host Game Two on Wednesday, as well as Game Three on Friday, if necessary.