The Firebird flying circus started early last night.
Acrobatic performers Michael Britt and Earl Jones ran over and around visiting Lincoln (Pa.) in the first half, totaling 30 points, as fast-breaking University of District of Columbia won, 107-67, at Theodore Roosevelt High School.
Because of late registration, UDC had to move the game from the Van Ness gymnasium to Roosevelt. UDC officials charged no admission and the fans weren't shortchanged.
Ranked fifth in the NCAA Division II poll, UDC (11-3) hadn't played in 10 days but showed no evidence of the layoff. The Firebirds shot 60 percent and outrebounded the smaller Lions by nearly 2-1.
The Lions (5-5) got three early baskets from leading scorer Ted Jefferson to trail, 8-6, after four minutes. Then their problems started.
Britt, who finished with 25 points and 13 rebounds, started a 19-6 spurt with a nice follow shot and ended the run with a reverse dunk. In between, Jones, who finished with 34 points, 18 rebounds and four blocks, had nine points and Britt had two one-handed running stuffs. Jones and Britt made sure the dazed Lions got only one shot at their basket during the spurt.
"The 10 days off didn't hurt us one bit; in fact it probably helped," Jones said. "The one thing we wanted to do was jump on them fast, get a quick lead. Our defense was the key. We played pretty good."
Coach Wil Jones toyed with his lineup last night, opting for a taller group. The 7-foot Jones was joined up front by 6-11 Al Holland and 6-7 Britt.
"I'm not really experimenting," Jones said. "Starting my tall people up front is just a little something I'm thinking about. You can always use more height."
Lincoln tried to catch up by shooting perimeter jumpers. The Lions made only 11 of 33 from the floor. During one dry spell, they made only one of 11 shots while falling behind, 27-10.
UDC continued to run, getting several fast-break baskets and open shots. Whenever the Firebirds missed, they hustled for offensive rebounds and earned foul shots. Britt's two foul shots started another UDC surge, this one settling things.
Ken Payne, Mike Daniels and Weaver Blondin joined in the fun, scoring on breakaways. A hanging bank shot by Payne with 1:35 left pushed UDC ahead, 47-20.
Lincoln Coach Mel Jones said he was more disappointed in his team's performance than he was impressed with the Firebirds.
"Had we played smarter basketball and not made so many mental mistakes," he said, "we might have been in the game longer. Both Jones and Britt have a lot of court presence and the team plays well around them."
Jones had 17 of his points in the first half as UDC took a 50-28 lead at intermission.
The Firebird rebounding was responsible for nearly a dozen layups in the first 10 minutes of the second half as the hosts expanded their lead to 80-50.