Center Mike Zagardo scored 26 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to lead George Washington over West Virginia, 81-75, in an Eastern Eight game today.

GW is now 10-5 overall, 3-3 in the conference, including three wins in its last four games, while West Virginia fell to 7-9 and 1-3 in the Eastern Eight.

Defensively, GW used a box and one with freshman Oscar Wilmington hawking West Virginia star guard Lowes Moore, holding him to 10 points, seven below his average.

"It was a great win," said GW Coach Bob Tallent. "The coliseum (West Virginia Coliseum) is a hard place to play. They have great fans. But we kept our poise. We were able to get it inside to Zagardo today. They kept (Brian) Magid out of the game with their triangle-and-two defense."

Sharpshooter Magid had shot 68 percent in his five pervious games but was held to 11 points today on four-of-10 shooting.

GW built a 44-38 first-half lead when Tom Glenn scored 14 points and Zagardo 13.

West Virginia tied the game with 5:18 remaining in the first half on two free throws by Russell Todd. But Zagardo hit five free throws for the six-point intermission bulge.

The Mountaineers regained the lead, 53-52, early in the second half on a jump shot by Joe Fryz, but Wilmington retaliated with a dunk to give GW the lead for good.

Zagardo had three field goals and two free throws in the last five minutes to stave off a West Virginia threat.

West Virginia could have closed to within two points in the final 15 seconds, but Moore missed a 15-foot jumper for the Mountaineers. The Colonials then got the rebound and Randy Davis sank two free throws with a second left.

The Colonials shot 60 percent from the floor in the first half, then took advantage of missed Mountaineer free throws in the second half. Phil Collins, a sophomore center, missed five straight foul shots during one point in the second half and could convert only four of nine free throws for the game.

Collins, who scored 18 points in a victory last Wednesday over American University, was held to nine points by Zagardo.

Tom Glenn added 17 points for the Colonials. Fryz led the Mountaineers with 16 points, while Greg Nance scored 15 and freshman Todd 14.

"I'm very disappointed," said losing Coach Gale Catlett, whose Mountaineers are now in seventh place in the Eastern Eight.

"Their front line just whipped ours all day. From the very opening tip, George Washington outhustled us. We had to play from behind all day. The game meant a whole lot more to them evidently than it meant to us.

"Today was a pivotal game for us," Catlett continued, "and we played a very average game. The game was on television . . . what more do you need to get ready to play?"