FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) -- Will Thomas scored 17 points and had 11 rebounds to lead five George Mason starters in double figures and the Patriots beat Liberty 72-64 on Sunday.
Dre Smith added 15 points for George Mason (9-3), Folarin Campbell had 14 points and eight assists, John Vaughan recorded 13 points and six assists and Louis Birdsong had 11 points.Thomas' dunk gave George Mason a 66-58 lead with 1:26 left to play after the Patriots watched a 17-point lead late in the second half slip to 64-58 with 1:35 left.Anthony Smith had a career-high 24 points for Liberty (6-7). B.J. Jenkins added 18 points for the Flames, and Alex McLean had 16.George Mason, in its first game since a win Dec. 21 at Florida International, is now 6-0 at home this season. The Patriots played a second straight game without senior guard Jordan Carter, sidelined by an ankle sprain.After trailing 9-0 at the start, Liberty took its first lead at 30-28 on a 3-pointer early in the second half by Anthony Smith.But Vaughan responded with a 3-pointer to give George Mason a 32-30 lead. A basket by Campbell gave the Patriots the lead at 34-32, and George Mason never trailed from that point.George Mason's Smith tied a season-high with five 3-pointers. The Patriots made nine of 19 long-distance shots, and committed just 12 turnovers. George Mason held a 30-21 rebound advantage.