A Patriot Center crowd of 5,021, largest of the season, enjoyed a rare treat last night. George Mason finally won a home game, after five failures, by defeating Navy, 93-82.

Robert Dykes had 28 points and Mike Hargett contributed 25 for the Patriots, who are 6-11 overall but moved into a third-place tie with American University in the Colonial Athletic Association with a 3-2 mark.

Besides its first success at home, George Mason was putting two victories back to back for the first time. The Patriots shot 56 percent from the field last night; they had not topped 50 until Monday's triumph at East Carolina.

"Everybody on our team is tired of losing," Dykes said. "In our locker room we can hear the other team celebrating through the air ducts. Coach {Ernie} Nestor before tonight's game told us to be the team that was celebrating, because he wasn't going to block out the air ducts."

This was the fourth loss in a row for Navy (5-11, 1-4), which has had little to celebrate this season besides the scoring of Erik Harris, who had 22 last night. The Midshipmen, losing to George Mason for the seventh straight time, fell eight points behind during a first half in which they shot only .333 from the field, missing eight of 10 three-point tries.

The teams combined for 51 personal fouls, 27 by Navy. Two of the bigger Midshipmen, Nick Marusich and Eddie Reddick, left early, Marusich fouling out with 8:48 left and Reddick following him 50 seconds later.

Navy was trailing, 78-64, with six minutes left and, with 6-1 Mel Davis trying to guard Mason's 6-10 Byron Tucker, the Midshipmen appeared to have no chance.

However, three-pointers by John Haase and Lance Reinhard, sandwiched around a jumper by Harris, closed the gap to six and had some people, including Nestor, shuffling in their seats.

Two baskets by Dykes boosted the margin to 10, but both Jamel Perkins and Dykes missed pairs of free throws and a Harris jumper again reduced the deficit to six, at 84-78.

The Patriots made enough free throws the rest of the way to hang on, but they finished with a mediocre 60 percent at the line, making only 13 of 26 in the second half, when they were hitting a far more impressive 18 of 29 from the field.

"We shot ourselves in the foot at the foul line," Nestor said. "But we had a lot of positive things, too. We've usually followed up a win with a nasty performance and tonight overall we played pretty well. Right now, we're executing better than we have all year."

One of the keys for the Patriots was the strong play off the bench of freshman Paul Arthur, who had nine points in 11 minutes, and senior Steve Moran, who netted eight in 15.

Dykes had been relegated to a bench role in a number of games and he said, "Coming off the bench you get a better understanding of helping the team, of making sacrifices for everybody's benefit. We just need to concentrate on playing together and we'll be all right."

Hargett sank 11 of 16 shots, including three of four three-point tries. He threw a wild 18-footer off the glass and into the hoop as the 45-second clock expired shortly before halftime.

The Patriots as a whole displayed considerable patience against Navy's up-tempo offense, and Navy Coach Pete Herrmann said: "George Mason did a good job running the clock off when it was a little shaky for them. But we need to get more than 82 points, we have to shoot better than 39 percent and we have to force more than 18 turnovers."