George Mason, which had led by as many as 25 points early in the third quarter, survived a late Navy rally and its own sloppiness to win its third straight game, 89-79, last night at George Mason.
Freshman guard Carlos Yates led all scorers with 19 points, 13 in the second half, and senior center Andre Gaddy had 13 in a game in which the Patriots never trailed. Sophomore guard Rob Romaine and junior guard David Brooks led Navy with 15 points each.
"It's hard to play a whole game like that," said George Mason Coach Joe Harrington. "But they (Navy) didn't quit. They kept coming back. We're still pretty inexperienced, but I thought Gaddy really made his presence known."
The bigger, quicker Patriots, using a pressing defense, had little trouble with Navy's outside attack and dominated inside. George Mason's taller front line, which had played poorly early in the season, outrebounded Navy, 41-30. The Midshipmen's starting forwards and center had fouled out with more than 10 minutes left in the game.
George Mason easily dominated the first half, running up a 12-2 lead on six straight points by Yates, and extended it to 22-6 on three turnaround jumpers by Gaddy. The 6-foot-10 center led the scoring that half with 10 points, four on dunks.
In the second half, the Patriots extended their led to 54-29 on three baskets by Yates and two jumpers by guard John Niehoff, who finished with 15 points.
With George Mason leading by 18 points, 65-47, with 10:04 left, Navy's front line of Todd Alexander, Gary Price and Richard Davidson all fouled out within a five-minute span. But reserve forwards Clifford Maurer and Timothy McDonell scored 12 points, with Maurer making three straight turnaround jumpers, to cut the gap to 73-56. Gaddy then fouled out and Maurer sank another jumper to make the score 76-63.
But Niehoff made six free throws and sophomore guard Andy Bolden drove for a layup with a minute left to seal the verdict. George Mason is 6-7 and Navy, which lost its fourth straight, is 5-7.