Reprinted from yesterday's editions.
American University had to resort to its "spread-to-score" offense late in the game to slow down determined St. Mary's College and record an 80-62 victory last night at Ft. Myer.
The Eagles (6-5) opened with a flurry of fast-break baskets and before the Saints had warmed up from their 2 1/2-hour journey from southern Maryland they were down by 21 points, 33-12 midway in the first half.
The rout, which the sparse crowd at Ft. Myer expected, was circumvented a little later as Tom Maleski pumped in 17 of his 19 points to keep the Saints respectable at the half, 41 to 27.
Still, there was no reason to assume the smaller, outmanned Saints could draw closer. After all, in the first 20 minutes, AU's front line of 6-foot-10 Howie Lassoff, Russell (Boo) Bowers and Mike Abner controlled both backboards, Mike Garlitos fired at will from the perimeter, hitting all five of his 16-footers, and a good pressing defense forced 12 turnovers, many of them leading to easy breakaway baskets.
"When you have young people, they're going to commit mistakes. And playing a big university was a first for most of them," said St. Mary's coach Donnie Bryan after the game. "We discussed a few things at half time . . . We came out loose and you see what happened."
What happened was enought to age AU coach Jimmy Lynam a few days, as well as the Eagle defenders, who stood around in amazement as the St. Mary's rifleman threw up 20-25 footers.
Ten of their 17 second-half baskets were from the twilight zone as they steadily chipped away at the Eagle advantage.
A baseline jump shot by Hammond Willis pulled St. Mary's to withing five points, 57-52, with 8:48 left.
During the time-out, coach Lynam told us they couldn't hit them from out there all night," said Garlitos, who finished with 14 points and eight assists. "But when we went out there they hit two more from downtown, one in my face."
Lynam had seen enough. He ordered his men to spread out and St. Mary's had little choice but to abandon its tightly packed zone and chase the ball.
"We didn't want to show it down but we had to get them out of the zone," said Lynam.