Mike Shannon scored the winning basket following a missed shot with eight seconds to play and Carlos Yates added two foul shots to give George Mason University a hard-fought 65-61 victory over Howard yesterday at George Mason.

Shannon, a 6-foot-7 junior, finished with a game-high 12 rebounds and hurt the Bison all afternoon, particularly on the offensive boards.

Howard's James Terry scored on an eight-footer in the lane to tie the game at 61 with 1:53 remaining. Then with guard John Niehoff in control, the Patriots worked the ball around nicely, playing for one last shot. With 15 seconds left, Coach Joe Harrington called play 1-4.

"It was a special play that we have been working on for the particular situation," Harrington explained. "It just happened that Carlos (Yates) happened to be the man who was in position to take the shot."

With 10 seconds remaining, Yates (21 points, 10 rebounds) got inside the lane for a 10-footer that rolled off the rim. But Shannon (10 points) followed up the shot and scored with eight seconds left as James Terry fouled him.

After two consecutive time outs by Howard, Shannon missed the foul shot, but Mike Hanlin tapped the ball to Yates. Howard fouled Yates immediately, but the freshman made both fouls shots to secure the victory.

George Mason led throughout. Center Andre Gaddy and Yates each scored 10 points in the first half to give Mason a 39-32 halftime lead. Bernard Perry and James Ratiff kept Howard in the game with 10 each in the first half. Gaddy finished with 17, Perry 16 and Ratiff 12.

The difference was at the foul line. George Mason made nine of 13 shots, Howard two of three. Mason outrebounded the Bison, 20-13, in the first half and 43-33 in the game.

Howard (15-10) will open play in the MEAC tournament against the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore at 5 p.m. Friday at Winston-Salem, N.C. George Mason (13-13) will play Old Dominion at Norfolk at 7 p.m. Thursday in the first round of the ECAC South tournament.