Forward Boo Bowers scored on a driving layup with 1:11 remaining to lift American over a pesky University of Baltimore team last night at Fort Myer, 60-58.
Bowers' game-winner took the Eagles off the hook after a horrid first half during which they totaled 19 points.
"I don't think we realized Baltimore would play that tough," Bowers said. "Coach (Gary) Williams got on us at halftime about being sluggish. We weren't running or playing defense with intensity."
Baltimore, which came into the game with a 3-13 mark, gave American all it could handle until Bowers' game-winner broke AU's three-game losing streak to give the victors a 12-10 record.
But the Eagles, who were on the short end of several questionable calls by the officials during the late going, needed a call with one second left to cement the game.
Evans Ford of the Super Bees missed a jumper with three seconds left after Baltimore had run off most of the final 50 seconds to try to send the game overtime. Forward Joseph Carr rose for the rebound, turned and fired in a fadeaway hook, but the basket was nullified; teammate Mike Decker was called for climbing Bowers' back.
Bowers then missed the first of his one-and-one with one second remaining and the visitors were far short on a 70-foot desperation heave.
AU's first-half shooting did nothing to warm up the frigid gym. With Leon Kearney (none for three) and Mike Abner (none for four) taking turns missing, American scored only nine points in the first 8:38. The Eagles, who turned the ball over 11 times in the first 20 minutes, got off only 19 shots and made seven.
Baltimore shot little better (12 of 31) but led at the half, 24-19. Bowers, a 52 percent shooter, was AU's leading scorer in the period but made only four of nine.
"I've been having some mental problems lately," said the sophomore, who declined to elaborate. "It's been hard for me to get into games mentally and emotionally. But in the second half, I picked myself up some more."
Bowers scored 13 of his game-high 21 in the final half but totaled only four rebounds -- he averages nearly eight.
Baltimore grabbed a 32-21 lead following two free throws by Ford after Williams was called for a technical and Brian Jenkins' bank shot on the ensuing possession.
But then the Eagles, keyed by Piper Harvey's three-point play and a defense which forced two jump balls for five-second violations and another turnover when the Bees couldn't get the ball inbounds, ran off a pair of scoring streaks to tie the score at 34 with 5:17 left.
With Eagle substitute forward Ray Voelkel and Bowers making key steals and rebounds, AU ran off 12 points minutes later for a 46-42 advantage.