Carlos Yates, the nation's fifth-leading scorer, outdid himself last night, scoring a career-high 37 points to lead George Mason past Boston University, 76-74, before 2,800 fans in Fairfax.

Yates, a sophomore guard from Flint Hill Prep, was not the only standout for the Patriots (8-5). Freshman center Vincent McQueen, in a substitute role, had nine points and five rebounds.

"It's hard to overlook Carlos as the MVP," Patriot Coach Joe Harrington said. "But Vincent did a job. He made mistakes, but he had a tremendous game." Harrington said the crowd was more enthusiastic and vocal than at any time he could remember.

George Mason led, 56-54, with eight minutes to go when Harrington was assessed a technical. Boston's Mike Alexander, a freshman from De Matha High School, made four straight free throws to give the Terriers (6-5) a 58-56 lead. Yates' free throws 2 1/2 minutes later put George Mason back in front for good, 62-60.

The teams then traded baskets until Yates, double-teamed, found McQueen open under the basket. His layup was blocked by Tom Ivey but both goaltending and a foul were called.

McQueen's three-point play gave the Patriots a 73-70 lead with one minute to play.

"He hit the ball when it was over the rim," said McQueen. "But I didn't feel a foul. I thought it (the block) was all ball."

The controversial call was indicative of how tightly the referees controlled the game. Fifty-three fouls were called; five players fouled out.

"The refs wouldn't let the game get out of hand with two young and very intense coaches in the gym," said Harrington. "Also, both teams are very physical."