Syracuse, which leads the nation in consecutive home-court victories, smashed American University, 103-73, tonight for its 37th straight win at home to set a Manley Field House record.

The heavily favored Orangemen (10-2) ran off 10 unanswered points to cap an 18-4 spurt late in the first half and send AU (8-5) to its second straight loss after a school-record eight straight wins.

Syracuse played good man-for-man defense -- the best his team has faced this season, according to AU Coach Gary Williams -- and the visitors responded by rushing their offense.

Guard Stan Lamb and forward Russell (Boo) Bowers, AU's two highest scorers, hit 29 and 22 points, respectively, but got little help.

The win was Syracuse's fourth straight since dropping both games in the Kentucky Invitational tournament. The Orangemen, ranked 18th by UPI, have not lost at home since the finale of the 1975-76 season, when Virginia Tech won under the Manley dome.

Virginia Military has won 36 straight at home, but the Keydets do not play there again until Jan. 17.

Roosevelt Bouie, Syracuse's 6-foot-11 junior center, paced a balanced attack for the winners with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Guard Marty Headd added 16, forward Dale Shackleford (12 points, 10 rebounds) chipped in with a strong effort.

After Syracuse broke away from a 33-27 lead in the final 5 1/2 minutes of the first half, it was never close. AU had lost forward Leon Kearney when he and SU reserve guard Mark Cubit were ejected with 8:40 to play in the first half following a several-player fracas in which Lamb appeared to be involved but Kearney was heaved.

"When you come up here," Williams said, "you have to play physical. I scouted the Pitt game here (Saturday). Pitt's very physical, but the same thing happened to them.

"It was good for us. We have a home-and-home with Syracuse. I like playing them; they're a top 20 team. They did a great job taking us out of our offense. It's the best defense, the best man-to-man, we've seen all season? And we've played St. John's and Alabama.

"At least we tried for the full 40 minutes."

SU Coach Jim Boeheim was particularly pleased with Bouie, who made seven of 11 shots and blocked four taken by AU.

"When Roosevelt plays like that, nobody's gonna play with us," said Boeheim, who then repeated himself for emphasis. "With Bouie playing like that, it's over. People can forget it."