Charleston, SC (Sports Network) - Erik Copes shot 7-of-8 from the field for 14 points, including the game-winning tip-in with one second remaining to lift the George Mason Patriots to a thrilling 78-77 win over the College of Charleston Cougars in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational at TD Bank Arena.
All five starters scored in double figures for GMU (19-14), which will play either Texas or Houston in the quarterfinals. Sherrod Wright led the way with 20 points, Jonathan Arledge and Bryon Allen (six assists) netted 11 points apiece, and Corey Edwards poured in 10 points without missing a field goal attempt (4-of-4).
For Charleston (24-11), Anthony Stitt led all scorers with 21 points, doing so on 5-of-7 from 3-point range. Adjehi Baru tallied 16 points and seven rebounds, Andrew Lawrence had 14 points and six assists, while Trent Wiedeman scored 11 points for the hosts.
Charleston shot 50 percent from the field in the first half, but GMU was even better at 66.7 percent, as the Patriots took a 44-36 lead into intermission.
The Cougars used a 21-11 run to open up the second half to take a 57-55 lead with 11:43 left. Charleston's lead stretched to six with under two minutes to play before GMU made its move. Arledge scored five points in a matter of seven seconds to bring the Patriots' deficit to just one, 77-76, with 1:24 remaining. GMU held the ball in the waning seconds, and after Wright missed a jumper, Copes converted the tip-in with no time left for Charleston to retaliate.
GMU won despite being outscored from the free-throw line, 20-9.