George Mason won its third consecutive game, beating East Carolina for the 14th straight time, 78-58, last night at Patriot Center.

"We're confident from winning six of the last eight and if you don't win, you can't sustain anything," said George Mason Coach Ernie Nestor.

In the opening minutes of the second half, it appeared the Patriots might lapse into their typical mid-game lull. From up 15, their lead disintegrated under the Pirates' pressure defense. But George Mason regained its poise, running up a 21-point advantage with 4:29 left.

George Mason's Byron Tucker led the game with 25 points and had 13 rebounds and 2 blocks. Mike Hargett had 16 points for the Patriots and Robert Dykes 14. George Mason is 10-13 overall but 7-4 in the Colonial Athletic Association..

East Carolina (10-13, 3-8) got only as close as 13 points (47-34 at 15:40). Then, for 10 minutes, Tucker and Dykes led a 25-19 run, accounting for all but five points, that put the Patriots up 72-53.

"We haven't had more than a three-game win streak here since my first year here," said Nestor. "And that's a challenge."