ST. LOUIS -- The way Rob Loe figured it, once Saint Louis managed to force overtime, the scary part was over.

"We just wanted to keep the momentum going," the Billikens' center said.

Loe made sure it happened, adding a pair of crucial 3-pointers in the extra session to his game-tying 3 Saturday as No. 19 Saint Louis survived a major scare in an 87-81 decision over Atlantic 10 cellar-dweller George Mason at Chaifetz Arena.

Loe finished with a team-high 23 points for the Billikens (20-2, 7-0), which tied a school record with their 14th straight win. But it was hard to tell the difference between the A-10's best team and its worst.

The Patriots (7-14, 0-7) were Saint Louis' equal for 40 minutes, leading by as many as eight points in the second half and pounding the Billikens inside. George Mason scored 22 of its first 24 points in the paint and collected 56 points in the lane, 20 more than anyone's managed against Saint Louis.

"That's a pretty good team," said Billikens guard Mike McCall, Jr. "They just pounded us on the glass. They just kept getting offensive rebounds."

Center Erik Coles' putback capped a possession on which the Patriots grabbed three offensive caroms, giving them a 68-65 lead with 56.9 seconds left in regulation. All that did was set up Loe's first clutch bomb.

Flaring to the top of the key after setting a ball screen, Loe accepted a pass from guard Austin McBroom and swished a 3 with 44.1 seconds left as the crowd of 9,148, which had been mostly silent, erupted.

"That was a big-time 3 by Loe," George Mason guard Byron Allen said.

After guard Marquise Moore and forward Jalen Jenkins missed potential game-winners on the Patriots' final possession of regulation, Loe started overtime with his second straight 3 as Saint Louis opened up a 75-70 lead with 3:17 left.

But Allen, who pumped in a career-high 30 points on 12-of-17 shooting, answered with consecutive buckets in rush-hour traffic to bring the visitors within a point. Enter Loe, this time with a dagger.

The 6-foot-11 senior from New Zealand took McCall's pass and connected on his third consecutive 3 with two minutes left to make it 78-74. After a layup from forward Dwayne Evans upped the lead to 80-76, the Billikens sealed it by going 7 of 8 at the foul line in the final 49.1 seconds.

"I was proud of the kids for continuing to hang in there and fight," Saint Louis coach Jim Crews said. "I told everyone (Friday) that George Mason could have easily been 5-1 in the league coming in here.

"You have to be good and you have to be lucky. George Mason is good but they have not been lucky."

It was the Patriots' eighth straight loss, tying their longest skid since 1996-97. Their last six defeats have all been by six points or less.

"This one hurts the most of all," Allen said, "because we competed with a ranked team on the road, had a chance to win it at the end and didn't."

Guard Patrick Holloway came off the bench to score 15 for George Mason, while Copes finished with 10 points and nine rebounds.

Guard Jordair Jett scored 18 points after a slow start for the Billikens and McCall finished with 15. McBroom tallied 14 points off the bench, while Evans managed 12 points and 10 boards.

While Loe felt Saint Louis weathered the storm just by reaching overtime, Crews never felt like his team had the game under control.

"Not until it was over," he said.

NOTES: This was the first time that George Mason and Saint Louis had met. The teams will play again on Feb. 19 in Fairfax, Va. ... The Billikens are 7-0 on the road, tied with Wichita State for the best away mark in the country. They will test that record out next week when they travel to Philadelphia to play St. Joseph's on Wednesday night and La Salle on Feb. 8. ... Patriots G Patrick Holloway has hit 49.1 percent of his 3-pointers over his team's last 11 games.