Not many folks could really get into it that American University broke a school record last night with its eighth consecutive victory. The minds of the Eagle faithful were elsewhere -- specifically on Boo Bowers' right knee.
The nation's second-dealing Division I scorer sprained the knee and may have stretched the ligaments in it, removing much of the joy from the Eagles' 74-58 East Coast Conference success over Delaware before 900 fans at Fort Myer. AU improved its record to 8-2, 2-0 in the conference. The Blue Hens dropped to 3-8, 0-4.
"It's obviously a sprain," AU trainer Rick Zappala said afterward. "It's too early to tell if he stretched the ligaments, and there's no way right now to determine how much time he'll miss. I've seen people come back the next day or have to sit out a season. We'll have him ice it and put a splint on it tonight, then send him home. Tomorrow we'll take him to Dr. Richard Conant, the team physician, and see what he says."
"I don't think it's real serious," said Bowers, who fell heavily to the floor while grabbing his knee with 11:19 remaining in the second half.
"I was trying to double-team the ball and I slipped all on my own. I fell to the inside and heard something pop in my knee."
Bowers, all eyes upon him, limped to the bench. After applying ice, he came back into the game with 10:02 left. He briefly took
"It felt okay while I was sitting on the bench and it felt fine when I was walking to the scorer's table," Bowers said in the dressing room. "I wanted to get back in there and when they asked me I told them I was ready to go. But when I walked out on the court the knee kept snapping. I thought if I pushed on it or tried to run it might collapse. I don't want to miss any games so I decided it wasn't worth it to stay in."
AU Coach Gary Williams said: "I think he wanted to come back in and help us win. But when he asked to come out again I wasn't going to take any chances. I hope it's not too bad."
American wasn't too bad, at least in the second half. In the first half AU hardly looked like a team with a seven-game winning streak. The Eagles played more like fledglings. Despite a significant height advantage, they were unable to pluck the Blue Hens.
An 8-0 burst gave AU an early 15-8 lead, but the Hens later retaliated with a 10-0 streak to move ahead, 24-20. AU got itself together in time to take a 27-26 advantage into the locker room.
"We haven't had real good practices," Williams said, "and we had no intensity in the first half tonight. It was my fault because I let Delaware control the tempo. We were flat on the bench and we need some emotion from those guys. When we caught up at the end of the half, that gave us the confidence we needed. If we'd still been behind, it might have been a different story."
It was a different story as AU awoke for the last 20 minutes. Using a full-court press that befuddled Delaware's guards, the Eagles gradually pulled away. with Ed Sloane scoring inside and Robin Hoey outside and Dennis Ross controling the boards, the Eagles moved to a 56-40 lead midway into the half. From then on it was just a question of how wide the final margin would be.
Bowers, Hoey and Delaware's Ken Luck tied for game scoring honors with 17 points apiece.