Ryan Pearson boosts George Mason in BracketBuster showdown

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.

Kwadzo Ahelegbe led the Panthers (19-10) with 26 points, and Jake Koch added 14.

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.