On the opening play of the Loyola-George Washington basketball game last night at the Smith Center, Ron Caraher chased down the tip and swatted the ball back to Steve Collins who sank a layup to put the Baltimore visitors ahead, 2-0.

It was a nice beginning but the Colonials had only to glance over at the Greyhounds' bench of empty chairs to know that such plays would be few and far between. The Colonials (5-5) eventually pushed the seven-man Loyola team the brink of exhaustion and waltzed to a 96-63 laugher in a nonconference game before 1,100.

"They (Loyola) came in on crutches, canes and everything. I don't know what was going on," said GW Coach Bob Tallent. "We were a little down following the Maryland game (GW lost, 84-72) and we weren't too intense. We sure weren't killing ourselves on defense."

Loyola, which lost three players, two of them starters, on injuries in the last few games, played about as well as a team afraid to foul could. The Colonials, sparked by the long-range bombing of Biran Magid, streaked to an 184 lead with 12 minutes left in the first half. Despite several speeches by Tallent, the Colonials started playing a cheating defense and the Greyhounds began connecting.

Rich Britton, Jack Vogt and Tim Koch got free off screens or slipped past lethargic Colonials for back-door layups as Loyola closed to 32-26, with 4:50 before intermission.

GW had no trouble shooting against the outmanned Greyhounds. With Magid hitting eight of his first nine shots (he missed a layup) and 6-foot-10 center Mike Zagardo making four of his first five, GW owned a 44-35 lead at the half.

"It took us a while to get started. I guess we thought because they only had seven players they wouldn't play hard," said Colonial guard Curtis Jeffries, who finished with 14 points and four assists. "We were just going through, the motions the first half. We weren't aggressive at all."

The intermission didn't help the tiring Loyola team much. Glenn, with only one basket and one rebound the first 20 minutes, hit three straight shots, Mike Samson added two baskets and the Colonials were on their way to the rout the boisterous crowd expected.

Tallent put his charges in a tight zone in the second half and the Greyhounds, who shot a respectable 52 percent (14 of 27) in the first half were forced to shoot from the perimeter. They made only three of their first 13 tries in the second half. A Koch eight-footer that cut the deficit to 56-44 with 13 minutes to play only seemed to anger the Colonials.

Magid, who shot his way to a season-high 22 points, bagged a 24-footer, Glenn banked one home, Samson raced three-fourths the length of the court for a dunk and Magid finished off the two-minute spurt with a bank shot to give the Colonials a commanding 64-44 lead.