After losing to top-ranked Georgetown and Rutgers in its last two games, American routed Davis and Elkins last night, 80-54, before a sparse crowd at Fort Myer.

The Eagles (3-5) were led by Frank Ross (15 points) and Eric White (14). Davis and Elkins, an NAIA team, is 0-9.

"We needed a win like this," said American Coach Ed Tapscott. "It's nice to get away on (semester) break after this kind of game."

Ahead, 23-19, with 6:44 remaining in the first half, American scored the next 14 points, effectively taking control. Freshman Charles West began the run with a short bank shot and Ross ended it with a 10-footer.

Mike Sampson's 12-foot jumper at the buzzer extended the Eagles' lead to 41-22 at halftime.

"We played well enough for the win and bad enough for me to get to yell at them on the first day back from break," Tapscott said.

American increased its margin to 68-37 with 6:20 left in the game on Michael Wade's base-line jumper.

Point guard Tony Biggers of Davis and Elkins almost singlehandedly kept the Eagles from running up the score further by making a jumper, a double pump in the lane, and a reverse layup in the last five minutes.

Keith Dixon was Davis and Elkins' only effective scorer in the first half, getting eight points on four-of-six shooting. But he scored only one point the rest of the game. Biggers led the Senators with 13 points and Bruce McCoy had 10. American had scoring from all players except Tom Scherer, who was ejected from the game for a flagrant foul after playing one minute.

"We still have a lot of work to do," Tapscott said. "But we're improving. We're making strides."