Ron Lacey scored a career-high 25 points leading Northeastern University over George Mason, 82-67, last night before 2,186 at Patriot Center.

Byron Tucker scored a career-high 30 points and Robert Dykes had 19 for the Patriots, who fell to 2-6 as their losing streak reached five games, the school's longest since 1981-82.

Over the final eight minutes, Tucker scored 10 of the Patriots' 20 points. Mason had drawn within five early in the second half, but the Patriots shot 12 for 38 from the field in the second half and could not keep pace.

"A large portion of it is mental. You can practice and practice and practice, but you still need to make those shots," said Patriots Coach Ernie Nestor. "With rebounding, it was a strong team we played and we didn't do a good job with it."

Mason was outrebounded, 51-38.

Nestor tried new players and combinations, but could not snap the Patriots out of the uninspired play they have shown so far this season. Getting more than their usual playing time last night were sophomore forward Kenny Johnson, sophomore guard Troy Jackson and freshman guard Paul Arthur.

"You have to give other people opportunities in situations like this and see what their capacity is," said Nestor.

Mike Hargett, Mason's best outside threat, was held to two-for-11 shooting and finished with only five points.

"Defensively. we stopped them and Ron did a nice job on Hargett," said Northeastern Coach Karl Fogel, whose team improved to 6-4. "Ron always plays the other team's best player and he still gets in double figures."

Nestor said his team will continue to have problems unless it finds more help from the outside.

"They did a very good job shutting down Mike and that's happened to us a few times before," he said. "He's vital to our offense and we're getting no outside shooting from another direction."