WILMINGTON, N.C., FEB. 8 -- George Mason shot 63 percent in the second half to overcome a seven-point halftime deficit and defeat North Carolina-Wilmington, 84-70, tonight to take sole first place in the Colonial Athletic Association.

The victory before 3,489 at Trask Coliseum was the Patriots' eighth straight and they improved to 15-6, 7-2 in the CAA.

George Mason went into the game tied with Wilmington and Richmond for the league lead. Wilmington (11-10) fell a game behind at 6-3. Richmond can tie George Mason for first by beating American Wednesday night in Richmond.

George Mason outscored Wilmington by 28-15 in the first 14 minutes of the second half, after trailing at intermission, 40-33. Wilmington had scored the first basket of the second half to take a nine-point lead. After George Mason's run, the score was 63-57 with 7:35 to play. Freshman Danny Deane gave George Mason the six-point lead on a jump shot.

Gary Bender sank a three-pointer to cut the Patriots' lead to 63-60. Deane made a layup and a free throw to put the Patriots back ahead by six with 6:42 remaining.

After a jumper by Wilmington's Roy Walker made the score 66-62, George Mason scored 11 straight points to take a 15-point lead, 77-62, on Steve Smith's three-point play with 2:35 remaining.

Smith had a career-high 27 points, including 16 in the first half.

Providence 85, Conn. 79:

In the Big East, the host Friars won as freshman Eric Murdock scored 19 points and Quinton Burton hit 13 of his 15 in the second half.

Providence (10-11, 4-7) shot 59 percent from the field in the second half, 17 of 29, Burton going six for six. Providence led, 71-61, with three minutes left, then sank 10 of 12 foul shots to avenge its 79-72 loss at Connecticut (11-9, 3-8).

Boston Col. 80, St. John's 76:

In New York, Dana Barros scored 22 points, five in a 12-0 run in the final four minutes, and Jamie Benton got 21 as Boston College (13-9, 4-7) rallied to give the Redmen (16-6, 5-5) a third straight Big East defeat, the first time since 1984.

The Eagles led most of the game but fell behind, 73-68, on a three-point goal and a steal/layup by Greg Harvey (20 points). Bob Francis made a three-point play to pull BC within two, and Barros regained the lead on a three-point goal at 2:23.

N.C. State 116, Baptist 68:

Vinny Del Negro scored 17 of his 23 points in the 49-29 first half to pace the Wolfpack (15-4) over the Buccaneers (12-9) in a breather in Raleigh.