George Mason raced to a 20-point first-half lead and cruised to a 72-59 victory over North Carolina-Wilmington last night in a foul-plagued game at the Patriot Center before 6,081.

George Mason's Mike Hargett led all scorers with 21 points, going three of three on three-point shots, shooting seven of 14 from the field and getting nine rebounds.

Byron Tucker had 18 points and seven rebounds.

For UNC-Wilmington, Bryan Withers and Tim Shaw each had 15 points.

George Mason is 9-13, 6-4 in the Colonial Athletic Association; the Seahawks fell to 10-13, 5-5.

Withers put in a short jumper to get within 53-42, then scored three of the next six points and it was a nine-point lead at 57-48 with 5:38 remaining.

Hargett scored a three-pointer at 4:51, pushing the margin back to 12 and Tucker made a short jumper at 4:09 and another jumper for a 69-57 score with 1:37 to go.

At 14:21 of the first half, Steve Moran put back in a Hargett miss, sending the Patriots on a 17-4 run that lasted eight minutes and put them up, 20-6.

In that time Tucker had three blocks and the team forced the Seahawks into eight turnovers, giving up only five.