Bernard Perry, who scored 29 points, led Howard on a 15-5 run that broke a tie midway through the second half and Howard went on to defeat George Mason, 83-69, at Burr Gymnasium last night.
Howard raised its record to 15-8; George Mason dropped to 13-9.
With Howard in front, 76-61, with 1:48 remaining, Patriots forward Mike Shannon fouled Kevin Scott and exchanged words with the official who made the call. Shannon received a technical, enraging George Mason Coach Joe Harrington.
After another exchange of words, this time between Harrington and the referee, Harrington was assessed his second bench technical of the game.
"The officials were incompetent," said Harrington. "We will never come back here again."
The teams were tied at 46 with 12 minutes to go, when the Bison and Perry broke the game open.
"Basically, we were trying to push the ball upcourt, but they (George Mason) tried to slow us down," said Perry, who scored 15 points in the second half. "Then we used the fast break to dish off the ball--passing back and forth quickly to get the shots we wanted."
Perry, who had seven rebounds, led a fine defensive effort by Howard, which stopped all the Patriots except high-scoring Carlos Yates. Yates, who totaled 24 points, shot eight for 12 in the second half, when he got 19 of his points.
"In the first half, I was off with my shot," said Yates. "I tried following my shot until at halftime, when one of my teammates said Howard was playing me two steps deep. So I just took the open jumper."
Junior forward Kevin Scott scored 20 points for the Bison and forward David Wynn had 14.
Both teams started the game at a slow and sloppy pace, with Howard leading, 10-5, after six minutes. The Bison's 1-3-1 defense held the Patriots while Howard took an 18-11 margin 10 minutes into the half.
Then George Mason called time. When play resumed, Niehoff made three straight open jumpers from the top of the key, and the Patriots outscored their opponents, 15-2, in a three-minute period and led, 26-20.
The lead changed six times in the first 20 minutes. With 10 seconds remaining, Howard lost the ball when trying for the last shot. Dwayne Grace ran downcourt and hit a pull-up jump shot with three seconds left to give George Mason a 36-34 lead going into the dressing room.