Not that the Colonels didn't have their chances. They erased a 10-point deficit in the first half and an eight-point deficit in the second, but they never caught up after Maryville built an 11-point lead midway through the second half.
"We had opportunities, and we didn't capitalize," Mason said.
One of the best came soon after Centre took its first lead of the game at 41-39. The Colonels extended their lead to 47-43 with 14:14 to play, but Maryville got off the mat thanks to three straight 3-point goals by Monte Calloway, a former Pulaski Southwestern High School standout who was 4-for-7 from long range. In just over 80 seconds, the Fighting Scots had regained a 54-47 lead.
"Calloway hit three really big 3s, and we didn't do a very good job on him," Mason said.
Maryville scored only one point in the final three minutes, but Centre squandered opportunities there, too. Trailing 72-68, three different players missed shots in one trip, including two in the paint.
Coy Zerhusen's free throw finally made it a two-point game with 2.8 seconds left. Maryville's Ruben Gonzalez missed two free throws, but Kyle Roby's shot from just inside the center line was off, allowing the Scots to escape.
Maryville shot 47 percent from the field and was 7-for-16 from 3-point range. Centre shot 43.9 percent and was outrebouned for the first time this season, though the margin was just 38-37.
But turnovers were the chief concern for Mason as he looks ahead to a stretch of four games in eight days beginning with Saturday's game at Berea.
"You want to be learning while you win, but sometimes it takes a loss here and there," Mason said. "Just as long as it's not too often."
Rob King led Centre with 16 points and nine rebounds but also had a team-high five turnovers. Reggie Magnusson had 15 points, Jason Atwell added 12 and Roby had seven rebounds and five assists.
Centre 72, Maryville (Tenn.) 71 - The Centre women rallied from a 13-point deficit in the second half, then won when Casey Geiman hit the second of two free throws with two seconds to play.
It was the third straight close game for Centre (2-1) and its second consecutive win. The Colonels' three games have been decided by eight points, and coach Jennifer Ruff said she likes the way her team has handled adverse situations so far.
"We've probably had more success already than I would expect," Ruff said. "It was a quick lesson (after losing their first game). We got the Cliffs Notes."
Maryville (2-1) built a 56-43 lead midway through the second half, but Centre used a 22-4 run to take a 65-60 lead with 4:50 left.
The Scots regained the lead at 69-67 before Centre's Mary Klee scored on a putback to tie the game with 1:26 left, then hit two free throws at :43.
Maryville tied the game with 26 seconds left, but Geiman, who led Centre with 16 points, 13 rebounds and four assists, drew a foul as she rebounded Chelsea Wessel's missed shot and hit the deciding free throw.