Georgetown and George Washington took turns playing poor basketball yesterday. It just so happened that Georgetown's first-half showing was a little worse, enabling George Washington to earn a 71-64 victory at Smith Center.

"It was a case of where the first half was all George Washington and the second half was all Georgetown," said GW Coach Joe McKeown.

The Colonials (2-0) had a commanding 41-24 halftime lead expand to 22 before being cut to 47-36 less than four minutes into the second half and to 65-60 with 1:17 remaining. But GW made six of eight free throws in the last 1:11 to claim the victory.

Georgetown (1-3), suffering from ill-advised shots, converted just 22 percent of its chances and turned over the ball 15 times in the first half. Meanwhile, George Washington shot 55 percent in building its lead.

"Our best players just stood around like they were stuck in cement in the first half," said Georgetown Coach Patrick Knapp. "It's just one of those things you can't explain."

Kristin McArdle turned out to be the Colonials' savior with 19 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals.

Virginia 80, Texas 74: The top-ranked Cavaliers (3-0) used a well-balanced offense -- six players scored in double figures -- to defeat the 12th-ranked Longhorns in Austin, Tex.

Tonya Cardoza and Heather Burge led Virginia with 14 points apiece. Texas, which lost in the quarterfinals of last year's NCAA tournament, slumped to 0-3.

Washington 78, Maryland 74: In De Kalb, Ill., Karen Deden had 21 points and 10 rebounds to lead the 13th-ranked Huskies in the first round of the Northern Illinois University Contel Fastbreak Fest.

The No. 18 Terrapins (2-2) will play Western Michigan, which lost to Northern Illinois, in today's 1 p.m. consolation game.

Maryland, which trailed 43-39 at the half, led 71-70 with six minutes remaining. But Washington converted 10 straight free throws in the closing minutes, mainly by Laurie Merlino (four of seven). Merlino finished with 19 points.

Brown 55, American 48: Brown pulled away from a 28-27 halftime lead for victory in the first round of the Lady Rams Classic at Fordham University.

Notre Dame (Md.) 76, Prince George's 72:

Prince George's, down 27 points, rallied to force overtime before falling at Novak Field House.

George Mason 65, Morgan State 41:

Laura Teter scored 17 points to lead the Patriots (2-2), at home, over Morgan State (0-4).

Montgomery-Rockville 49, Essex CC 47:

Marcia Segura (20 points) hit the winning basket with two seconds left in the game for Rockville (1-1). Essex is 0-1.