CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- Ryan Pearson scored 21 points and pulled down 15 rebounds as George Mason rallied to defeat Northern Iowa 77-71 Saturday to extend the longest active winning streak in Division I to 13 games.
Andre Cornelius scored 24 points to lead the Patriots (23-5) in a BracketBusters game and first-ever meeting between the teams. Pearson dominated the boards, and his strong inside play got him to the foul line often where he made all 13 free-throw attempts.
Northern Iowa led 36-32 at the half and was up 47-40 with 13:14 remaining. Cornelius made a free throw to give George Mason its first lead of the second half, 62-61, with 3 minutes remaining. His two free throws with 43 seconds left gave the Patriots a 71-65 edge. Northern Iowa got as close as 73-71 with 15 seconds left, but Pearson made four free throws to close it out.
Seton Hall sophomore Isaiah Whitehead will stay in the NBA draft and not return for his junior season.
Washington State's trio of Josh Hawkinson, Conor Clifford and Ike Iroegbu have withdrawn from the NBA draft and will play their senior season with the Cougars.
Gonzaga center Przemek Karnowski, who missed most of last season with a back injury, says he is returning for another year.