Both American University Coach Gary Williams and Catholic U. counterpart Jack Kvancz had the same comment following AU's 105-77 thrashing of the outclassed Cardinals last night at Brookland Gymanasium.
"One more," said an obviously pleased Williams, minutes after his team recorded its 19th victory in 23 games. "We worked on our defense and our press to see how effective we could be against Catholic.
"We wanted to get a good lead and force them to play. We did a good job. Everyone hustled. We have a big game coming up (Tuesday night at St. Joseph's) and we needed a good game."
Kvancz's comment referred to his team's final game of the season Monday night against George Mason. The game will also end CU's Division I status. CU will drop to scholarship Division III status next season.
"Only one more to go," said Kvancz. "We plan to have a nice afternoon. We'll have a nice dinner before the game and lots of cocktails at my house afterwards. Hey, what else can you say? The kids did the best they could. I'm proud of them."
Under ordinary circumstances, it would be difficult to be proud of a team that is 4-19. But the Cards have been outmanned every game this year and have played the last few games with their starting front line sidelined by injuries. Thus, Kvancz has had to resort to delay tactics to stay close. AU expected that, and was ready.
The Cards won the opening tap and immediately went to their pass, pass and pass-some-more plan. The strategy worked for 43 seconds until a traveling violation was called. AU's Dennis Ross, who had a career-high 23 points, and a game-high 10 rebounds, started off the rout with five quick points.
The scrappy Cards trailed only 7-6 with 15:35 left in the half, but the high-flying Eagles put them away with a 15-0 streak over the next four minutes for a 22-7 lead. Ross had five points and Ed Sloane (20) had four in the spurt.
"This was a good game for us going into the St. Joe's game," said Ross, who had only one rebound and one point in AU's last game. "It gave us a chance to sharpen a few skills, like our defense, our press . . . and we got a chance to run. Plus, it was good for team moral. Everyone got to play."
Williams substituted frequently, as he usually does with this deep team. Gordon Austin had five points and seven assists in eight minutes. Austin's sharp passes to Mark Nickens (12 points) and Sloane helped the Eagles take a 57:31 halftime lead.
CU's Joe Colletta enjoyed a career-high 31 point night.
AU did a lot of things right last night. It shot 58 percent from the floor, hit 19 of 21 from the line and outrebounded the Cardinals, 51-33. The Eagle defense limited CU to 29 baskets on 79 attempts and forced 16 turnovers.
"Rebounding and defense will the keys for us against St. Joseph's," said Williams. "We worked on screening out because we can't let St. Joe's post us up all night. We let CU get a couple of second shots, but I can't be critical of my guys because they've been great all year."