American University was in over its head Wednesday night as Temple, playing about as well as a team can play, burried the Eagles, 99-80, in the second round of the East Coast Conference playoffs.

Temple advanced to the semifinals against Lafayette Friday night at Lafayette in Easton, Pa. Delaware plays La Salle in the other semifinal. Last night, Lafayette whipped Lehigh, 76-65, La Salle edged St. Joseph's, 89-82, and Delaware downed Bucknell, 72-62.

The Owls shot 66 percent, but that was only the half of it. They did anything and everything they wanted as they coasted to their 10th straight victory and improved their season record to 23-3.

Guard Tim Claxton scored a career high and McGonigle Hall record 31 points, but it was the other guard, 6-foot Ricky Reed, who lit up the place. Reed delivered a school record 17 assists, breaking Guy Rodgers' record.

"Reed is as intelligent a guard as there is in America," AU Coach Jim Lynam said. "He gets the ball to the people who are open and he gets it to them where they can score."

Temple Coach Don Casey said, "We just put a lot of things together. We shot well and we shot relaxed. Our offense is pretty open. Guys can do what they want in it, but we still have to move the ball. Reed really did that well."

AU started the game in its usual 2-3 zone defense and tried about every other defense imaginable.

"We didn't find the answer, though, that's for sure," Lynam said.

Temple made 20 of 28 from the field for 71 percent in the first half and had a 48-39 lead. It then opened the second half by scoring on 10 of its first 12 possessions and breezed to a 69-49 lead with 13 minutes to play.

Claxton, who plays underneath more than he does outside, scored four straight layups in that stretch.

Most of the other Owls, like Marty Stahurski and Bruce Harrold, are long-range bombers while the muscular 6-4 Claxton likes to kill you from point-blank range.

Reed keeps everybody moving in the Temple offense. The Owls make five or six crisp passes and all of a sudden a guy is open and bang, it's the bottom of the net.

"They are an excellent team," Lynam said. "They always have that outside shot to fall back on, but then we didn't keep them off the boards, either. They know what their strengths are and they play to them."

The five Temple starters accounted for all but three of the season-high 99 points.

AU was led by Boo Bowers, who made 10 of 15 shots for 20 points.

Howie Lassoff had 10 first-half points and Mark Garlitos added eight, but between them, they scored only nine points after intermission.

AU finished with a 16-12 record.