Reprinted from yesterday's late editions
American University warmed up a chilly Ft. Myer gym at the start of the second half Monday night, hitting 10 of its first 12 shots en route to a 99-76 victory over an outclassed Washington College basketball team.
With 10 minutes left in the game, the only issue still in doubt to the crowd of 340 was whether the Eagles, now 3-3, would reach the century mark.
Washington, which lost its third game in four starts, was hurt by a lack of height. The Chestertown, Md., team had no player taller than 6-foot-6.
The Eagles, with freshman swingman Russell (Boo) Bowers and Mike Abner hitting open jumpers over the Washington zone, built a 21-14 lead after eight minutes. Then American went cold, missing seven straight shots. The Shoremen began to muscle their way underneath the defensive boards, with three and sometimes four men hitting the boards to deny American more than one shot.
An offensive-rebound basket by Joe Wilson put Washington ahead, 22-21, and the Shoremen built the lead to five points. Abner, who canned eight of 11 shots in the half, kept American close.
Then the Eagle press began to force Washington errors and forward Leon Kearney and substitute guard Donald Kelly keyed a 15-6 Eagle spurt that enabled them to close the half leading, 46-42.
"We were hurt in the first half by our gambling defense, which gave Washington too many easy shots," commented Eagle coach Jim Lynam, adding, "In the second half, we worked the ball inside more on defense and tightened our defense. Also, our height started to wear them down."
The shooting of Bowers and Abner and the playmaking of Kelly sparked the Eagles at the start of the second half. American scored the first 10 points of the half and built its lead to 64-47 with five minutes elapsed.
Howie Lassoff, AU's 6-10 center, and his 6-8 replacement, Joe Mitchell, each blocked three shots to keep the Shoremen nervous underneath. Kelly gave the Eagle offense the organization it lacked in the first half, working the ball inside to Bowers and Kearney for easy layups over a fatigued Washington squad.
Bowers almost quadrupled his eight-point average, canning 12 of 19 shots en route to a 31-point effort in only 28 minutes of action. The Eagles made 56 per cent of their shots, compared with 41 per cent for the visitors. American also had the edge in assists, 25-6.
Center Ed Beach paced the Shoremen with 22 points.