Now that American University forward Russell (Boo) Bowers has broken the school's career scoring record, the Eagles seem to be in good shape to win more than 16 games for only the second time since they have been in Division I.
Bowers, who was the tournament's most valuable player, scored 36 points Saturday night in AU's 79-75 upset of Old Dominion in the final of the Kiwanis-ODU basketball tournament. That gave Bowers 2,017 points, erasing current UDC Coach Wil Jones' record of 1,982, and put the eagles at 6-2, all accomplished on the road after losses to Rutgers and Maryland.
Now, they play four of their next six games at home before hosting Georgetown Jan. 28. It is not that far-fetched to speculate on a 12-2 record for AU going into the game with the Hoyas. That certainly would make the matchup the most attractive it has been in several years.
The only AU team to win more than 16 games was the 1972-73 group that Kermit Washington led to the NIT with 21 victories, and that Coach Tom Young used as a springboard to the Rutgers job. Even with Bowers, AU struggled at a .500 pace the last two years under new Coach Gary Williams, mainly because there were few players to complement the 6-foot-5 forward.
But, with an influx of local recruits, most noticeably guard Ed Sloane and transfer Mark Nickens, both of whom played at Mackin, Williams now has the talent and depth to use a nonstop, swarming defense and an upbeat tempo that suits his personnel best.
AU next plays Wahsington College Jan. 13 at Fort Myer, its "home court" that has been unavailable because of repairs to the playing floor.