La Salle overcame a career-high 39 points by American University's Boo Bowers to register a 95-85 East Coast Conference victory today at Convention Hall.
The triump, which improved the Explorer's conference mark to 7-4 and overall record to 14-7, came as the first half of a doubleheader marking the 25th anniversary of Philadelphia's Big Five basketball. La Salle's 1954 NCAA champions were honored at halftime.
In the second game, sophomore guard Bryan Warrick followed up his own missed shot with a 10-footer at the buzzer to give St. Joseph's a 53-52 overtime win over Temple.
Al McCullough's foul shot with 1:08 to play gave Temple a 52-51 edge, but the Owls missed three one-and-one oportunities in the final minute and Warrick took advantage the last time.
Mike Morrow had 17 points and Boo Williams had 14 for St. Joseph's (13-7) while Keith Parham had 14 and Davis contributed 12 for the Owls, now 12-9.
American, with three conference games to play, is 44 in the ECC and 11-11 overall.
La Salle never trailed in a game which pitted the conference's two leading scorers, Bowers and Explorer Michael Brooks.
Bowers, the nation's ninth-leading scorer, raised his average to 26.9 and moved into second place among AU's all-time scorers with 1,664 points.
The 6-foot-5 junior forward was mainly responsible for keeping the Eagles in the game after La Salle had taken a 41-33 halftime lead. A Bowers basket brought American to within five, 72-67, with 6:13 to play, but La Salle then outscored the Eagles, 6-2, to clinch the victory.
Bowers had 28 second-half points, making 14 of 21 shots from the floor in the final half. Piper Harvey added 16 for AU.
Brooks, averaging 25.8 points a game, didn't score for 12 minutes, but finished with 22 points. Fortunately for the Explorers, they also received 22 points from James (Mo) Connally and 18 from Kurt Kanaskie.
Connally made 10 of La Salle's first 20 points as the Explorers took a 20-11 lead.