AU Gets Early Jump on Bison

By Steven Goff
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 7, 2006

American University took the lead before its game with Howard began last night and was barely interrupted en route to a 85-75 victory at Burr Gymnasium, a fourth consecutive win that extended the Eagles' finest start in 17 years.

The rout began before the opening tip-off when the Bison were assessed a technical foul for dunking during warmups. Andre Ingram made one of the free throws and, with the exception of brief Howard flurries in each half, the Eagles (7-2) were well on their way to their eighth victory in the last 10 meetings with their crosstown rivals.

Arvydas Eitutavicius scored 17 of his 23 points in the first half and extended his free throw streak to 27. Ingram added 21 points and nine rebounds for the Eagles, who led by 21 at intermission, shot 60 percent overall and had a 42-23 rebounding advantage.

Darryl Hudson had 20 points for the Bison (4-5), who will play their next eight games on the road, starting Saturday against Maryland-Eastern Shore.

"We've been winning games but we haven't really been playing well for any extended stretches," Eagles Coach Jeff Jones said. "I thought in the first half tonight we put together our best half of the season. We just put together a real solid effort."

It was the first of five straight road games for the Eagles, who with a victory at Yale on Saturday would be 8-2 for the first time since the 1980-81 season.

After the pregame free throw by Ingram, the Eagles established control with their considerable height advantage, back-court quickness and outside shooting. The lead quickly grew to eight before the Bison found their rhythm and got within 20-19 on Darek Mitchell's three-pointer.

So much for the competitive portion of the game.

The Eagles embarked on a 25-5 surge to end the half, punctuated by 19 consecutive points over a five-minute stretch, to build a 45-24 lead. Eitutavicius sparked the run with three free throws, a three-pointer and a three-point play over 2 1/2 minutes.

"It was a series of five or six straight defensive stops and we were able to convert on each," Ingram said. "It all started with that defense. We just kept pushing and got on a roll. It was a good feeling."

Ingram hit a pair of three-pointers, Eitutavicius ended a three-shot possession with another three-pointer and Derrick Mercer dashed through the lane for an easy layup and a 23-point lead with 1 minute 11 seconds left in the half. Hudson, averaging 20 points per game, finally ended AU's cruise with a couple of free throws with 44 seconds remaining.

ยท GMU 62, RADFORD 60: Folarin Campbell and John Vaughan each scored 21 points as the Patriots earned a comeback win on the road.

The Highlanders (4-6) led for most of the game, using a 16-3 run to open a 12-point margin near the end of the first half.

The Patriots (4-3) cut their deficit to three early in the second half, and Vaughan's three-pointer with 3:17 remaining put George Mason ahead to stay.

Vaughan, Campbell and Will Thomas (16 points) scored 58 of the Patriots' 62 points.

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