George Mason's roster resembles the 100 neediest cases more than a basketball team, but that didn't mean George Washington was going to be charitable about it.

The Colonials beat the beleaguered Patriots, who looked like they had just finished crossing the Delaware, last night at the Smith Center, 80-69. In fact, George Mason would have had trouble crossing Rock Creek.

The victory brings George Washington's season record to 3-4, and its series record against George Mason to 4-0. The Patriots are now 3-3, having lost their last three games.

It appears that they may have lost more than that. It was learned last night that 6-foot-10 center Andre Gaddy, who broke his right thumb in a fight during the second game of the season, may be redshirted for the remainder of this season. Head Coach Joe Harrington said the final decision would be made next week. Asked if it was a good bet, Harrington said, "I would say so, yeah."

Gaddy and Terry Henderson, the Patriot's first and second leading scorers and rebounders, watched from the sidelines as the teams combined for 61 turnovers, 56 fouls, and 55 baskets. "I would have hated to have paid $4 to have seen that game," Harrington said.

Only 700 people did.

GW Head coach Bob Tallent said, "I'm very happy with our offense. Defensively? Zeros. We couldn't do any worse than we did last night. Any five kids in sneakers could have done better."

If the game was sloppy, it was somewhat redeemed by the 34-point performance of Wilbert Skipper, a career high for him and a season high for George Washington. "He saved us," Tallent said.

"My mother is in the hospital with asthma," Skipper said."I told her I would do the best that I could do. She went in on Christmas Eve. I think I owe it to her. It was just a little present for her."

Skipper, a junior transfer student, who had been starting earlier while Curtis Jeffries was hurt, came off the bench with 10:06 remaining in the first half, just as Andy Bolden; George Mason's freshman guard (season average 17.3 points before last night's game) was leaving with his third foul. Skipper took charge.

When he entered the game, GW was down, 10-8, (the last time they were behind in the game), and having trouble with George Mason's 2-3 zone. Skipper scored 10 of the Colonials' next 16 points and they went ahead, 24-15. GW scored on its next 10 possesions, six of the seven baskets coming on long jumpers. The Patriots did not score a point in the last 6:10 of the half, which ended, 30-15. During that same span, George Mason, obviously taking to heart the holiday spirit -- it is more generous to give than to receive -- turned the ball over seven times.

In the second half, George Washington increased its lead to as much as 24 points. But then its own notions of generosity -- 20 turnovers -- (the game total of 32 was a not-so-pretty season high) took over. George Mason closed the gap to 11 points, but no closer.