American University shot a school-record 67.6 per cent from the field tonight en route to a 99-83 victory over Wagner in the first round of the Fairfield University Boys Club Classic.
Fairfield rode an 18-point performance by Flip Williams to a 72-64 victory over Catholic in the other first-round skirmish. The Cardinals face Wagner in Saturday's 6 p.m. consolation, while American takes on the host school in the championship game at 8.
Russell Bowers poured in 16 points in one first 10 minutes to stake American to a 30-14 lead. Bowers finished the half with 20 points and the Eagles holding a 51-32 lead.
Steve Johnson of Wagner scored 12 of his 18 points in the second half to help the Seahawks cut the margin to eight points, 55-48, with 15:24 left. But Eagle center Howie Lassoff scored 12 points in the final nine minutes to protect the Eagle lead.
American boosted its record to 8-5, winning seven of its last nine games. Wagner fell to 3-6.
Mark Plefza scored 10 points in the second half to help Fairfield (8-1) hold off Catholic for its 20th straight home-court victory.