George Mason's basketball team has become more team-oriented the past two years, but last night against William and Mary the Patriots looked as they had reverted to their old ways.
Before a capacity crowd of 2,750 at the George Mason Gymnasium, the Patriots went back to relying too heavily on the scoring of Carlos Yates, were dominated on the boards and lost to the Indians, 63-62.
Scott Coval, a 93 percent free throw shooter, made both shots in a one-and-one situation to give William and Mary a 63-60 lead with three seconds left. Rob Rose made a layup for George Mason with one second left, but it was not enough to prevent the Indians from defeating the Patriots for the 10th time in 11 meetings.
Keith Cieplicki's 20 points led William and Mary, which improved to 8-5 overall, 3-1 in the ECAC South. George Mason, coming off its first victory in 12 years over James Madison, fell to 8-7, 3-3. It was the third one-point loss at home for the Patriots this season.
"I had all the confidence in the world in him," William and Mary Coach Barry Parkhill said of Corval, his best free throw shooter. "All I started to think about was what we were going to do after he made the two shots."
They were Coval's only two points of the game.
George Mason, which was behind much of the game, had two good shots in the final 15 seconds as it trailed, 61-60.
Ricky Wilson, who came into the game averaging 13.9 points but did not make a field goal in the first half, missed a 10-foot shot from the right base line with 15 seconds left. The rebound went out of bounds, off a William and Mary player, and George Mason set up a left base line shot for Yates. It skimmed off the rim. Coval took the rebound and was fouled.
"I don't feel good about this game," said George Mason Coach Joe Harrington. "It's obvious. We didn't hit the big shots tonight and they did. We got killed off the boards (38 to 27). They wanted to win this game more than we did and they got all the rebounds and all the lose balls."
The Patriots also fell victim to depending too much upon Yates, as they did when they had less talent two years ago. Yates, who is averaging 22.7 points, ended with a season-high 32 on 13-of-22 shooting (59 percent). The rest of the Patriots made 13 of 31 (42 percent).
William and Mary took a 50-41 lead, its biggest of the evening, after Kevin Richardson (15 points, 11 rebounds) scored with 10:38 to go. George Mason came back behind Yates, who scored seven straight points and tied the game at 54 by making two free throws with 6:12 remaining.
Yates did not score again, but his 2,076 points enabled him to pass Maryland's Albert King (2,058) and American's Boo Bowers (2,065) to become the seventh all-time leading Division I collegiate scorer from the Washington area. Eric Floyd of Georgetown is the record holder with 2,304.