The latest in what has become a series of discouraging defeats befell American last night, as it once again faded down the stretch en route to a 84-75 loss to Towson State at Bender Arena.

The Eagles (9-11) have lost six of their last seven games, and five of those losses have been by less than 10 points. The reasons for the late collapses have varied, but the results haven't. Last night, the culprits were poor offensive execution and shoddy defensive rebounding.

"There's almost a feeling on the bench like we're looking for a way to lose," said American Coach Chris Knoche.

The Eagles' Craig Sedmak {team-high 20 points} tied the game at 75 with a three-point shot with 2:43 left, but that would be it for their offense.

After Towson State's John James put back a miss by Terrance Jacobs, the Eagles worked the ball around, but could only get a tough baseline jumper that Brian Gilgeous missed.

On the ensuing possession, Towson State guard Devin Boyd {a game-high 25 points} missed a three-pointer, but Chuck Lightening grabbed the offensive rebound with 47 seconds to play. The Eagles were forced to foul, and the Tigers -- who, unlike the Eagles, have made a habit of winning close games -- then made five of six free throws.

"When you're winning it's hard to lose, and when you're losing, it's hard to win," said Towson State Coach Terry Truax, whose team improved to 14-7.

Another key to the Tigers' victory was the play of their bench, which outscored the Eagles' substitutes, 32-11.

"They do a great job picking up where we left off," Boyd said. "We need that to be a good team."

Right now, American is trying to figure out what it needs to do to pull out of its funk.

"We didn't finish again," Sedmak said. "That's been our problem lately. In the last five minutes of a game, we can't get over the hump."

The game was close throughout. The Eagles led by four early, but behind Boyd, the Tigers came back to take a 41-36 halftime lead.

The Eagles came out strong in the second half, largely because Sedmak got hot from oustide, and successive three-pointers by Donald Grant and Gilgeous {15 points} gave the Eagles a 53-51 lead. They extended the lead to 72-68 on Brock Wortman's jumper with 5:15 to play, but Boyd and Lightening responded with baskets that tied the game and set up the all too predictable conclusion.

George Mason 87, William and Mary 67: In Williamsburg, George Mason built a 56-30 halftime lead on the way to a Colonial Athletic Association victory before 2,621 at William and Mary Hall.

The Patriots (8-13 overall, 5-4 CAA), who broke a two-game losing streak, were led by senior forward Robert Dykes (23 points) and junior center Byron Tucker (21 points, 16 rebounds). The Tribe is 10-12, 3-6.

Mont.-Takoma Park 90, Mont.-Rockville 81: Forward Al Welch (game-high 28 points) led the Falcons (13-7) at Rockville. Forward Doug Whalen scored a team-high 25 points for the Knights (6-17).

Mont.-Germantown 80, Charles County 62: In Germantown, the Gryphons (16-9) won their fifth straight as five players scored in double figures. Sophomore forward Mark Crutchfield (18 points, 12 rebounds) and sophomore guard Rob Moxley (17 points, seven assists) led the Gryphons. The Hawks (9-15) lost their fifth straight.

Marymount 99, St. Mary's 88: Rob Harris scored 21 points and Pierre Gardner 20 as the Saints held onto first place in the Capital Athletic Conference with a win in Arlington.