WASHINGTON – Maurice Creek hit three consecutive three-pointers to open the second half and finished with 22 points as George Washington defeated George Mason 66-58 Sunday afternoon at the Smith Center.
Patricio Garino added 13 points and Isaiah Armwood finished with 11 points and 14 rebounds. Kevin Larsen also chipped in with 11 points.
The win moves the Colonials (21-7, 9-5 Atlantic 10) into a tie for fourth place with Massachusetts with two games remaining. The top four teams in the regular season earn a bye into the conference tournament quarterfinals.
Sherrod Wright led George Mason (10-18, 3-11) with 16 points and Bryon Allen added 14 points. Eric Copes gathered 12 rebounds.
The Patriots are in 12th place in the conference standings and are looking to avoid having to playing in the opening round 12-13 game at the league tournament.
With the Colonials up by two, Creek hit a three-pointer from the right wing on George Washington's first possession of the second half. After a Patriots miss, he connected from the left corner.
Once again George Mason failed to score, and Creek responded with a three from the top of the key that ignited the Smith Center crowd and forced George Mason coach Paul Hewitt to call time with his team down 35-24.
For good measure, Creek tipped in Nemanja Mikic's miss on the Colonials' next possession
The Patriots rallied, putting together a 13-3 run and pulling to within 42-41 on Wright's jumper with 10 minutes left.
Garino's three-pointer gave the Colonials some breathing room, and Creek scored four straight during a 10-0 George Washington.
George Washington led by as many as 14 late in the game before the Patriots closed the gap to single digits.
The Colonials, who came in having lost three of their last four, improved to 13-1 at home in the Smith Center this season.
Both teams shot under 40 percent from the field in the opening half, and the Colonials turned the ball over nine times, leading to 11 George Mason points.
Armwood's lay-up off an offensive rebound sparked an 8-0 Colonials' run midway through the half as the Patriots went over seven minutes without a field goal.
Trailing 17-14, the Patriots responded with a 6-0 run and led 20-17 with 4:10 left.
The lead changed hands three times before halftime with George Washington up 26-24 at intermission.