Villanova used a spread offense and good free throw shooting by Rory Sparrow and Steve Lincoln in the final five minutes to stave off injurydepleted George Washington, 75-71, in the ECAC opener for both teams last might at Smith Center.

GW Coach Bob Tallent looked like the world was about to come crashing down on his shoulders when starting guard and leading scorer Bob Lindsay suffered a slightly torn ligament in his knee in the first minute of the game. He did not return. Just minutes before, Tallent had announced forward Tom Gleen had broken his hand dunking Friday night during practice and would be lost for several weeks.

The Colonials got good efforts from Mike Zargardo, Mike Samson and Glenn's replacement, Dave Thornton, and gave the Wildcats (4-0) a spirited contest.

GW led by as many as 12 points early in the game but slowly began to succumb to Villanova's pressure.Sparrow and Lincoln made one steal after another and eventually tied the game at 55 with 13 minutes to play.

Sparrow then got loose underneath for a left-handed layup. The 6-foot-2 junior was ofuned and his successful free throw pushed Villanova into the lead for good, 58-55. Aaron Howard and Lincoln sank back-to-back jumpers and the Wildcats shot seven points ahead, 62-55.

Sparrow was called for his fourth foul and immediately joined other starters Howard and leading scorer Alex Bardley on the bench.