With George Mason leading Radford by as many as 25 points in the second half last night, the only drama remaining for the 2,815 fans was the wait for Carlos Yates' 2,000th career point.
The wait ended with 10:14 left in the Patriots' 82-57 victory when Yates hit a 15-foot jumper off a fast break.
Following the basket, which gave the Patriots a 46-30 lead, the game was stopped and Yates was presented with the ball and an award. He became the 10th area college player to score more than 2,000 points in his career, and the first from George Mason.
Yates finished with 26 points and is now three points shy of ninth-place John Lucas, who ended his career at Maryland with 2,015 points.
It was slow going for Yates as he approached the milestone. After sinking his first three shots in the first half, he hit a cold spell and finished with eight points in the half, making four of nine field goal attempts.
He then missed his first five attempts after intermission but converted four free throws to move within two points of 2,000.
"I felt a little pressure when I started getting closer," Yates said. "I started thinking about it too much and I couldn't get the shots I wanted."
He was not intimidated on his decisive jumper, however. Rob Rose passed to him on the left side and, with Mike Dufrene setting a pick, Yates was unchallenged as he shot.
"I felt good on that one," he said.
With the record in hand, the senior guard once again became the old Yates, helping the Patriots rout the pesky Highlanders, who had regrouped enough to cut the lead to 12 points with 6:50 remaining.
Six straight points by Yates put Mason ahead, 56-42, and, following a technical foul shot by Rose, Yates scored another six points -- on two layups and two free throws -- to make it 63-42.
When the lead reached 24 points, Mason Coach Joe Harrington cleared his bench.
Although most eyes were on Yates, the Patriots build a 34-16 halftime lead with team play. When Radford's leading scorer, James Cooke, left the game with an injury four minutes after the start, Mason scored 10 straight points to take a 16-6 lead.
Cooke returned at 11:11 and scored four quick points -- one basket on a driving layup following a steal at midcourt -- to cut the lead to 16-12. But the Patriots, led by freshman guard Brian Miller, outscored the Highlanders, 18-4, the final 10 minutes of the half.
Miller hit all three of his jump shots in the half and assisted on a reverse alley-oop dunk by Rose.
Yates will try to pass Lucas on the area scoring list Wednesday when Richmond visits for a 7:30 game. Richmond is led by DeMatha graduate Kelvin Johnson.