George Mason's fast break got going only a few times last night against Richmond, but when it did, it was highly effective.

The Patriots, with Carlos Yates scoring 31 points, took a 13-point lead midway in the second half and held on for their first victory over Richmond in five meetings, 74-67, in an ECAC South game in Fairfax.

George Mason (11-7, 2-3) nearly lost the game in the final 1:40. Yates couldn't get the ball inbounds and was called for a five-second violation following a 12-foot jumper by Greg Beckwith that made the score to 67-63. Bill Flye then scored on a lay-in to cut the Patriots' lead to two with 1:26 left.

George Mason lost earlier in the season to Richmond, 50-49, in much the same way.

But the Patriots scored their final seven points on free throws, four by Mike Yohe, two by Mike Hanlin and one by John Niehoff, to stop the Spiders (10-11, 2-3).

Yates was double-teamed most of the first half as the Spiders' zone would collapse around the Patriots, forcing poor shots. Yates finished the first half with seven points.

When the Patriots ran the ball, they scored almost at will. George Mason opened the second half leading, 31-27, and outscored the Patriots, 13-4. Yates had nine of those.

"I started personally trying to pick up the tempo to make it a running game," said Yates.