American University, looking to regain its confidence, found the perfect remedy last night. The Eagles ran off a 29-10 spurt in the final six minutes of the first half against St. Mary's and went on to trounce the out-classed Saints, 116-80, in a nonconference game last night at Fort Myer.
In tying the 16-year school record for most points scored in a game (in 1963-64 versus Stetson), AU (3-3) shot 53 percent from the floor and dominated the backboards, 53-35 against the shorter visitors.
"We weren't looking at our height advantage so much," said AU's 6-foot-7 center Bob Harvey. "We had lost two straight games and we wanted to come out and play a good game; go out and get back on track."
AU took its sweet time getting on track, allowing the run-and-shoot Saints to hang close in the opening minutes. Long jump shots by Bobby Hill (23 points) and Raymond Jones (27) kept St. Mary's around until AU grew serious. After Hill's basket pulled St. Mary's to within four points, 29-25, AU slapped on a full-court press.
Boo Bowers, on his way to 32 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists, dropped in a pair of free throws and a layup. Harvey added two baskets and a free throw following AU steals and Chris Knoche tossed in four more points to complete a 15-2 AU blitz that all but wrapped up matters.
Four Eagle players scored in the final two minutes of the first half as the hosts led 58-25 at intermission.
"We tried to stress defense the first 30 minutes or so," said AU Coach Gary Williams. "We just wanted to stay in control. We got some steals off our press and got ahead. We played two good games against Navy and Lafayette and got nothing for it.
"Behind those two losses, we came in a little tight.It took us 12 minutes or so to get our confidence back."
St. Mary's didn't offer AU much of a challenge in any department. Once Bowers, Harvey (14 points, four rebounds) and Dennis Ross (12 rebounds) began controlling the inside, St. Mar's got but one shot and could only stand and watch as the Eagles began to get many second and third shot opportunities.
"I thought we did pretty well on the boards," ventured Bowers, averaging 26.8 points per game. "We've played a lot of zone most of the year but we got a good chance to work on our man-to-man defense this game."
Except for Jones and Hill who fired when ready, the Saints did very little. Tom Maleski, the Saints' tallest man at 6-6, scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds. No other Saint had more than six points.