Oscar Jones scored a career-high 34 points and Delaware, which opened the second half with a 20-6 run, defeated American, 81-73, in a nonconference game tonight at Delaware Field House.

Delaware led, 18-12, with 10:17 left in the first half, but Jim Lutz scored 10 straight points in a 1:16 span to put the Eagles ahead, 22-20, with 6:34 left in the half. Lutz had 12 points at halftime, as did Steve Nesmith, and American (4-8) held a 36-33 lead.

But the Blue Hens (6-6) started the second half by outscoring the Eagles 20-6, in the opening 6:39 to build a 53-42 advantage. In the run, Jones had eight points and John Weber and Len O'Donnell four points each, and Taurence Chisholm had five assists.

American came back to cut the deficit to 69-67 with 2:20 left, the result of a 19-8 run in an eight-minute stretch. Mike Sampson had eight points of his 12 points then and Lutz had four.

But the Eagles could get no closer. Weber made two foul shots to put Delaware up, 74-69, with 53 seconds left. Chisholm's two free throws, giving Delaware a 76-71 lead, iced the victory with 30 seconds left.

Lutz led the Eagles with a career-high 22 points, Frank Ross had 13 and Nesmith had 12 points and nine rebounds. For Delaware, Weber had 14 points and seven rebounds, and Barry Berger scored 10 points.